At the end of last year, Versace filed a lawsuit against Fashion Nova in which it accused the fast fashion brand of selling “deliberate copies and imitations of [its] most famous designs, brands, symbols and other elements protected by law.”
And now, some months after the original complaint, Fashion Nova has replied to the lawsuit by denying most of the accusations. In its defense, Fashion Nova claims that it did not run afoul of federal copyright and trademark law because, although Versace maintains copyright records for the designs at the center of the lawsuit, they “lack originality” and “are standard geometric figures and patterns” that “are widely used in the fashion/apparel industry.”
In this regard, the brand filed a separate case for the court to declare that not only is it not infringing Versace’s copyright, but also asking that it invalidate six of the existing copyright records for the Italian design house.
Fashion Nova continues to argue that “Versace’s claims are barred by the doctrine of independent development,” a copyright principle that protects an infringing party from liability if it can prove that its infringing design was the result of independent creation and not copy.
Considering the similarity of the designs, it is a questionable defense, but still, Fashion Nova states that even if the court considers Versace’s copyrights to be valid and their claims are not blocked by any of their previously stated defenses, they still have not committed any type of infraction since the pattern on the clothes are not similar enough, although the court will have to rule on that.
On the other hand, Fashion Nova also argues that there is “no likelihood of confusion between [its] allegedly-infringing products and Versace’s purported trademarks and/or trade dress” and if Versace can’t prove there is a possibility that consumers could believe that they are associated with Fashion Nova, then it can’t make a case for infringement.
Furthermore, the brand also states that Versace’s claims must be prohibited because it suffered no damage as a result of the alleged violation.