Thursday, June 16, 2011

CHANEL's Full-Page Notice in WWD

I was surprised to see a full-page notice at the back of the June 14 edition of WWD. My first thought was that someone - some company - really angered CHANEL. Then I realized that we'd all better watch our language.

The note "of information and entreaty to fashion editors, advertisers, copywriters, and other well-intentioned mis-users" of the CHANEL name" was eye-catching.

They started by describing their magnificent company, products, and registered trademark for fragrance, cosmetics, clothing, accessories, and other lovely things. Then...

Although our style is justly famous, a jacket is not "a CHANEL jacket" unless it is ours, and somebody else's cardigans are not "CHANEL for now."

And even if we are flattered by such tributes to our fame, as "Chanel-issime, Chanel-ed, Chanels, and Chanel-ized, PLEASE DON'T. Our lawyers positively detest them. We take our trademark seriously.

Wow! They should take their trademark seriously. The assaults on it from counterfeit merchandise continue to be troubling. However, going one step further, CHANEL believes that it's an infringement to modify the word "CHANEL" to describe non-CHANEL items. It's their trademark to protect, but I'm not sure that such comparisons can hurt them. Maybe in a full-page ad? I can understand that. Where to draw the line? I'd love to know who set them off.

Logo courtesy of CHANEL

13 comments:

lovethescents said...

Although understandable, this is a little bizarre. I'd like to see them try and stop Chinese-made knock-offs....just try.

LV tried the same, threatening legal action. I'm not sure it's made much of a difference, to be honest.

lookyloo said...

Yikes! This is really funny to me considering that a lot of their stuff is made in the same place as the knock offs! lol to much!

flora_mundi said...

I'm fully expecting a notice from Kleenex on the importance of correctly identifying tissue next...

JillZ said...

For anyone familiar with the law this is absolutely necessary for a brand. When they don't actively police their own brand they lose the right to litigate later when necessary. They also lose what the brand truly is and it becomes just another word in the dictionary---like Kleenex, or Xerox. Those are brands that have now become words for any facial tissue or facsimile regardless of the brand providing them.

JillZ said...

Funny Flora! I was writing my comment obviously while you were writing yours! :)

Bunny Masseuse said...

I think it's a bit of a stretch to say you can't compare what they do to other things.

Will it be allowed to say something is (brand name here)-eque or (brand name here) reminiscent when trying to compare something that might have like features to something else?

Go after the counterfeiters and knockoffs, but I'd be shocked if they want to ban it from being a verb or adjective!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi all,

It is a legal principle that one must enforce granted trademarks, and CHANEL has to "do what they have to do" under that principle. What struck me as unusual was the full-page ad. It may be a generalized shot over the bow, but that wouldn't absolve the company of the responsibility to go after individual violators.

I'm still curious about what exact usage(s) prompted the wording of the warning. Clearly, they wouldn't want to be in the same position Xerox found themselves in years ago when we all referred to "xeroxing" documents with whatever brand copiers. :)
There has to be something that set the company off - a usage so egregious it made their toes curl.

Clarisse said...

Very strange indeed, I'd like to know what prompted Chanel to spend so much money on that! No clue here...They should be more worried by Chinese copies and knock-offs (plenty of them in China but in Europe too):those are more threatening than vocabulary which is praise!
By the way, Mademoiselle Chanel never feared copies: she said being copied by "the street" was a sign of success, it made her happy and didn't worry her at all; she also said she was sure people would always know a true Chanel made in her ateliers and she was at peace with that. But in her time, Chanel made mainly clothes and perfumes, now Chanel licences are on all sorts of objects: sunglasses, scarfs, bags etc..Anyway, they should be more particular and go for real violators who do real harm...
Charlestongirl, let us know if you hear which story is behind this expensive page in WWD?

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Clarisse!

From the expert in France - thanks! I love your information about Mademoiselle Chanel and copies!

JoAnna said...

I'm agree that their ad is not going to be very successful, but I certainly understand their frustration. I thought it was interesting reading your post and then seeing the following notice that is added to your blog in Google Reader - "Copyright 2009-2010 Best Things in Beauty If you are reading this feature in its entirety anywhere other than Best Things in Beauty, it was stolen and is a copyright infringement." You have every right to protect your work. I'm sure that's how Chanel feels...

Charlestongirl said...

Hi JoAnna!

Thanks for telling me the Goodle feed still said 2009-2010! I changed it in several places, but obviously forgot one when the year switched to 2011! Better late than never?

I had to add those words to my feed when I found my posts being copied in their entirety on other sites, with no credit. You're right, we have to protect our work. That is why it must be frustrating to see those double "C" logos on so many knock-offs.

lizzybee said...

I am dismayed that such an erudite "institution" (and they surely are) would hope that such an admonition- full-page in WWD or otherwise- is really going to do the trick. They aren't serious, are they? Just drag out the Big Guns and file a colmplaint in court, c'mon ... !!

Stolen Style said...

Great post! I too noticed the ad. Featured your blog post on my own blog, Stolen Style. http://stolenstyleblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/chanel-warns-fashion-world-chanel-is.html