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Coach sues Gap for "Coach" t-shirts

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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American lifestyle brand Gap has stirred controversy with another player in the lifestyle market by offering t-shirts featuring the word "Coach." The move has provoked Tapestry-owned Coach, which has initiated legal action against Gap for allegedly selling these tees without authorization.

In a trademark infringement lawsuit filed in the federal court of Los Angeles, Coach and its parent company, Tapestry, asserted that Gap had not obtained permission to sell the t-shirts, leading to potential confusion among consumers regarding Coach's involvement, reported Reuters.

San Francisco-based Gap did not comment to Reuters, citing its policy of refraining from discussing ongoing litigation. Meanwhile, Coach, based in New York, is pursuing legal recourse seeking unspecified damages for trademark infringement, counterfeiting, and violations of California's unfair competition law. Additionally, Coach seeks the removal of unsold inventory of the disputed clothing items.

While it's true that many fashion brands draw inspiration from each other and may adopt similar trends or styles, there is a distinction between being inspired by and outright copying another brand's designs or trademarks. Fashion brands invest heavily in building their brand identity, which includes unique designs, trademarks, and aesthetics. When they perceive another brand as copying their designs or trademarks, they may take legal action to prevent dilution of their brand identity and to maintain consumer trust and loyalty.