Following an arduous back-and-forth with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Virgil Abloh‘s Off-White™ has now officially secured a trademark for its red zip tie found across the brand’s shoes, apparel, bags, and other accessories.
Off-White™ first began using zip-ties as a signature element of its products in 2016 and submitted a trademark application the same year in July. The application was denied in 2018 by examining attorney Linda M. Estrada who classified the zip-ties as utility items, citing “functional matter cannot be protected as a trademark.” The color red was also an area of contention as it was referred to as “not inherently distinctive.” In 2019, it was reported that Off-White™ once again failed to provide a clear enough description of its red zip tie mark and adequate proof that consumers associated the red zip tie with the brand.
Off-White™ argued that the zip-ties are not strictly functional, as they’re “neither absolutely necessary nor indispensable to the purpose of [its] products.” The legal council for Off-White™ followed up with a statement in late-2020 stating, “The Examining Attorney has provided no evidence that any other fashion brand does use, or has ever used, a red zip tie in this manner. Granting a registration for Applicant’s Mark would not put competitor fashion brands at a disadvantage, except that it would prevent competitors from trading on the significant reputation of Applicant.”
Its newest trademark application finally passed earlier this week on March 29, in which Off-White™ clarifies the specific form and positioning of its zip tie as illustrated in the image above. “The mark consists of a zip tie with a substantially rectangular end, all in the color red. The outline of a shoe is not claimed as part of the mark,” writes the principal register description.
The red zip tie trademark will add to Off-White™’s growing list of tools in pursuing legal action against imitators as the brand awaits patent approvals for its other logos and quotation-marked goods.
Elsewhere in fashion, Dapper Dan and Gap deliver a second drop of “DAP GAP” hoodies.
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