Mackage Claims Copied Designs From Rival Rudsak With Help From Former Employees
Ahead of sales for the fall / winter 2021 season, Mackage is fighting a legal battle over the design of one of its best-selling offerings: a certain fur-trimmed collar coat, which the nearly 25-year-old brand claims has he has been selling steadily since 2007, and which rival Canadian outerwear maker Rudsak has since “willingly and slavishly” copied and started masquerading as his in an attempt to graft on “l’s esteem”. one of the most prestigious contemporary outerwear brands in North America. ”
According to the lawsuit it filed Wednesday in federal court in New York, APP Group Inc., d / b / a Mackage (“Mackage”) claims that from the summer of 2007, it began selling a winter coat over $ 1,000. , which bears what is now widely known as “Col Mackage.” Used in conjunction with its signature ‘asymmetric zipper’ design on ‘a significant part of its core collection, [which are some of] its best-selling styles year after year, âthe Montreal-based brand claims the design has become anâ outerwear phenomenon âandâ a favorite among celebrities, âsuch as Gwyneth Paltrow, Meghan Markel and Madonna.
Due to consistent use and widespread publicity, and its adoption by well-known fans, Mackage says that the design of the coat – namely, “(i) the V-shaped fur collar / hood used on many of his best-selling coats; and / or (ii) the asymmetrical zipper used to close several of his coats “- represents” an asset of substantial value and has acquired substantial secondary significance as a source indicator â.
In this context, Mackage alleges that Rudsak – a “direct competitor” – offers jackets that use the same key elements of its commercial jacket dress in order to “deliberately negotiate on the goodwill of [Mackageâs] intellectual property.”
Specifically, Mackage claims that Rudsak’s copycat products are the result of an elaborate “plan” to “deliberately hire former Mackage employees, including sales managers, marketers and suppliers who are intimately linked to the unique aspects of designs, fits, models, sketches and other production details, then uses them to copy Mackage’s style almost verbatim. In doing so, Rudsak “knowingly violates” agreements with confidentiality and restrictive covenants that Mackage requires its employees to sign, claims the complainant, arguing that Rudsak “violates these agreements and / or circumvents them by withholding them. former Mackage employees as “consultants rather than employees, to obtain Mackage proprietary information and manufacture and sell near-text copies of [its] coats.”
Beyond that, Mackage asserts that âRudsak [has] regularly buys Mackage coats and has their employees measure and copy them almost verbatim “(which is not uncommon when it comes to copying in the fashion industry), thus taking advantage of” expenses, labor, skills and knowledge âfrom Mackage. and âunlawfully interfere with Mackage’s property rightsâ. And yet, Rudsak further damages the Mackage brand and risks confusing consumers, according to Mackage, not only by selling “hearty” versions of his best-known coat, but by selling a range of other similar styles (to lower prices and “inferior”), going so far as to mimic “style marketing and advertising, [by] using a model dressed the same way.
In doing so, Mackage argues that Rudsak “has caused and likely will continue to cause” confusion among consumers as to the source and / or nature of the unaffiliated coats, “is diminishing. [Mackageâs] reputation for both quality and style â, andâ created a dilutive, fuzzy and tarnishing effect on [Mackageâs] famous brands and trade dress.
Bringing allegations of trade dress infringement, misapplication of origin, unfair competition, dilution of trade dress and unfair trade practices, Mackage seeks unspecified pecuniary damages, as well as an injunction to prohibit to Rudsak “to make or sell goods similar to, derived from, or otherwise using, copying or incorporating the Mackage trade dress”, among others.
Unless the matter is settled, it could turn out to be a long battle. Considering the presence of other V-shaped fur-trimmed jackets on the market and / or the use of similar asymmetrical zipper designs on outerwear by brands such as Moncler, Michael Kors, DKNY and Cole Haan, it could prove difficult – and costly – for Mackage to show that consumers have come to associate their trade dress with a single source and / or that they are likely to be confused as to the source. Rudsak jackets.
A representative for Rudsak was not immediately available for comment.
THE BROAD VIEW: While the lawsuit focuses on the U.S. market, it comes as Canadian brands are eager to expand their businesses beyond North America, and outerwear manufacturers, in particular, are targeting consumers luxury goods in China, where the down jacket market alone has garnered attention in recent years with annual sales of nearly 121 billion RMB ($ 18 billion) in 2019, according to the 2019 Insight on Online Down Jacket Consumers of Tmall and CNBData. This market is expected to grow by $ 22.6 billion by 2022.
These enticing sales in the puffer market are driven, in large part, by Canada Goose, Bosideng and Moncler, who maintain an oligopoly. When it comes to high-end winter outerwear, Jing Daily previously reported that the market is “divided between dominant local players, such as Bosideng, innovative luxury trendsetters like Moncler, and international disruptors. new to space, such as Nivose and Mackage, âthe latter of which has expanded its physical footprint in China in recent years. Meanwhile, his V-neck jackets “are doing particularly well among netizens,” aided in large part by the adoption of the jacket style by Western celebrities and famous faces in China.
At the same time, WPIC Marketing + Technologies CEO Jacob Cooke reveals that Montreal-based Rudsak is a “recent success story of new Canadian brands in China” and one of many “proof that doing business in China is always possible. âEven as late entrants to the market and in light of the growing popularity of Chinese brands, such as fast-fashion giant SHEIN, among consumers. âWhen you look at the competition 5 to 10 years ago, you talk about the other foreign brands coming into the market,â says Cooke. âYou didn’t really have to worry about local brands, but you don’t. ”
The case is APP Group (Canada) Inc., et. al., v. Rudsak USA Inc., 1: 21-cv-07712 (SDNY).