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Ferragamo v. Ferragamo, and Other Legal Trouble Over Having the Same Name as a Fashion Brand

The footwear at a Ferragamo event. Photo: Amanda Edwards
The footwear at a Ferragamo event. Photo: Amanda Edwards

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Salvatore Ferragamo, the shoes and accessories brand, is suing Ferragamo Winery, a vineyard founded by former Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo, for trademark infringement. For this article only, the two parties will hereafter be referred to as Fashion Ferragamo (Plaintiff) and Football Ferragamo (Defendant).

As Reuters first reported — and the court filing spells out — Fashion Ferragamo's concern is that the name of Football Ferragamo's business is going to confuse consumers, which could potentially damage its reputation and hurt its sales prospects. That's a pretty standard complaint, but there's also this tidbit: Fashion Ferragamo actually operates its own vineyard on a Tuscan estate called Il Borro. You can rent out suites or villas there, and I highly recommend you peruse the offerings if you have a minute. Looking through them is the calmest I've felt all week.

To show just how long the house of Ferragamo has been producing wine, Wednesday's court filing includes news clippings dating to the introduction of Ferragamo Chianti Putto in 1980, along with a press release that includes the line: "It is unusual for a woman to head a winery, but everything about this dynamic woman is unusual." Yes. It is that old.

This isn't the first time an industry player has gotten wrapped up in a lawsuit centered around someone else having a similar name, though. A brief history of name confusion in fashion.

Chanel v. Chanel's Salon

In 2014, the French brand sued an Indiana woman named Chanel Jones, the owner of an hair and beauty salon called Chanel's Salon, for trademark infringement. According to court documents, a judge ultimately sided with Corporate Chanel and barred Cosmetology Chanel from using the name.

Katy Perry v. Katie Perry

In 2008, an Australian loungewear designer named Katie Perry filed for a trademark, which Katy Perry's legal team opposed. The complaint doesn't seem to have gone to court, perhaps in part because of this very sweet message Katie Perry left for the singer on YouTube.

Elle Sasson v. Elle

Once again, it is Elle on earth. Last year, a fashion designer named Elle Sasson filed a complaint against Elle after the magazine opposed her application for the trademark "Elle Sasson." It was, according to the court documents, "an attempt to control the manner in which Elle Sasson uses her natural name." Which, yeah, is honestly kind of a nightmare. The case is ongoing.

Dolce & Gabbana v. Dolce & Banana

Back in 2012, Dolce & Gabbana sued a Cape Town costume jewelry shop brilliantly named "Dolce & Banana." As Women's Wear Daily reported at the time, the complaint alleged, "The name Dolce and Banana makes a mockery of the well-known trademark Dolce & Gabbana." Which, lol, yep.

The big takeaway here is that if you wish your unborn child to have a bright creative future, do not name him or her after things that are already things — especially if those things are luxury corporations. We're not saying that Apple Martin, the 11-year-old daughter of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin and apparent beauty maven, needs to watch her back when she inevitably starts her beauty vlogger business... but if she does, at least she'll have some great lawyers in her corner.