LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Playboy Enterprises filed suit Tuesday in federal court against Fashion Nova, alleging the Los Angeles-area online purveyor of quick-to-market apparel is selling knock-offs of its signature bunny costume for Halloween.
Playboy alleges that when people think of its brand, the second thing that comes to mind is the Playboy Bunny and her costume of bowtie, strapless satin corset, bunny ears and white cotton tail. Fashion Nova’s version is an “attempt to confuse and mislead consumers,” according to the suit filed in Los Angeles federal court.
“Despite Playboy’s warning to Fashion Nova to cease and desist its unlawful behavior, Fashion Nova continues to market and sell” copies of “Playboy’s most valuable and well-recognized marks,” according to the lawsuit.
A message seeking comment from Vernon-based Fashion Nova was not immediately answered.
Fashion Nova’s “business model is built on disregarding trademark protections, which are of critical importance to Playboy’s brand,” the complaint for trademark infringement alleges. “By this lawsuit, Playboy seeks to protect its brand and put an end to Fashion Nova’s latest attempt to copy the famous designs and trademarks of others.”
Versace sued Fashion Nova in Los Angeles last year, alleging the company was marketing copies and imitations of the Italian luxury brand’s most famous designs. A trial date was set and then vacated.
Fashion Nova was founded in 2006 as a chain of stores in Los Angeles- area malls that sold low-priced “clubwear.” In 2013, it launched an e- commerce site to sell “fast-fashion” apparel — inexpensive clothing produced rapidly to meet new fashion trends.
“Fashion Nova’s ability to churn out new clothing so quickly is due in large part to its willingness to copy the designs of other companies, piggybacking on their creative efforts to boost Fashion Nova’s bottom line,” Playboy Enterprises alleges.
Using names such as “Bunny of the Month 4-Piece Costume Set,” “Bunny Hop 3-Piece Costume Kit” and “Miss B Bunny Costume,” Fashion Nova’s “infringing products are materially indistinguishable from Playboy’s Bunny Costume,” according to the suit.