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How to Spot a Fake: Supreme Italia’s Takeover
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How to Spot a Fake: Supreme Italia’s Takeover

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How to Spot a Fake: Supreme Italia’s Takeover

The Emergence of the Legal Fake…

No one likes being copied and that is clearly the reason for the anger-abating phrase, “imitation is the best form of flattery.” In a practical sense, the saying isn’t wrong and if something you did is copied, you obviously did something right in the copycat’s eyes, at least. But the frustration that comes with the discovery of being copied, largely stems from a place of loss. When it comes to brands, that loss can be devastating. Not only do copycat products amount to a loss in potential profits for the original maker but any negative association with the copycat can lead to a loss in reputation of the original brand.

Supreme NY is ubiquitous at the moment, though not intentionally so. Supreme is one of the most coveted street brands in the market, targeting Millennials and Gen Z through the ironic deliverance of ‘luxury streetwear’; a long-trending fashion phenomenon. Synonymous with luxury though is exclusivity and superior quality, amongst others, and Supreme NY hit the nail on the head there. Where they missed the mark however, was securing their control over said exclusivity… Enter Supreme Italia.

While the list of differences between Europe and America will take us days to go through, most relevant to our topic here is the discrepancy in copyright laws between the two nations. Claiming a national trademark, like a US trademark is not the equivalent of securing a worldwide trademark protection against copycats – as such, a logo only enjoys protection as a trademark in the territory it is registered in. Supreme Italia used this point of vantage to claim the national trademark “Supreme” first, in Italy and Spain. This came prior to Supreme NY’s application for an EU trademark which Supreme Italia is now contesting. But as the EU policy with regards to registering trademarks is more of a ‘first come, first serve’ principle, it is arguable that Supreme Italia’s use of the “Supreme” logo is technically legal; a legal fake, if you will; as are the ever-so-slightly warped “Supreme” products they now sell.

The implications of this wildly controversial case could be game changing, as we contemplate the ethical progression of ‘legal fakes’. Unlike counterfeiting, the goal of the legal copycat is not to replicate the original product alone, but instead entirely impersonate the original brand. From the standpoint of the consumer, it means having to be extra savvy, perhaps even skeptical when making a purchase. Not to mention the pressure on multi-brand retailers to carry certified originals, like online eyewear retailer VisionDirect. Co-founder and CEO David Menning explains, “We sell more than 80,000 products across 150 brands, dealing directly with certified suppliers. Eyewear is such a technical product and our customers trust us to source authentic pieces, which means the responsibility of preventing [legal] fakes from infiltrating the market lies largely in the hands of distributors as well.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

As other imitators try to exploit loopholes in the international trademark arena, we encourage conscientious consumers to actively educate themselves on the brands they love and features of authenticity to avoid falling victim to the notorious ‘legal fake’. Also, check out our tips on How to Spot Fake Ray-Ban Sunglasses

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