New Phillip Lim logo
Phillip Lim, who recently announced a collection for Target, also debuted a new brand mark for its 3.1 Phillip Lim collections. The new logo is shown above. According to the company, "a trademark squatter" currently owns the Chinese rights to the brand's name for ready to wear and footwear and without letting that stop Phillip Lim from launching its collection in China, it went to easier route of creating a new logo.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office provides an in-depth definition of "trademark squatting" as, "when one party intentionally files a trademark application for a second party’s registered trademark in a country where the second party does not currently hold a trademark registration. They take advantage of the “first-to-file” trademark system (not to be confused with first-to-file patent systems) in that country. While the United States has a “use-based” trademark system where trademark rights are acquired by “priority of use,” most other countries around the world have a first-to-file system, awarding trademark rights to the first applicant. When bad-faith filers obtain registrations in a particular country, they are treated as legal trademark owners in that country. A bad-faith filer's intent is usually to get the true trademark owner to purchase the trademark registration."
China is one of those countries which has a "first-to-file" system in which many Chinese have taken advantage of by filing trademarks for popular western brands. Moreover, in China, litigating against a trademark squatter is expensive and can take years since this practice is not illegal and unfortunately, very widespread. Even after commencing and going through litigation, victory is not guaranteed; it is very difficult to prevail on a bad faith trademark case since "bad faith" is very narrowly defined. In 2012, Hermès and Chivas Regal both lost trademark disputes in China.
So it looks like Phillip Lim did the smart thing by circumventing the entire litigation process and creating a new brand mark. Outside China, this brand mark will appear on all new 3.1 Phillip Lim goods sold along with the traditional 3.1. Philip Lim logo. However, goods sold in China will only use the new brand mark without the name and logo.
WWD (subscription req'd): 3.1 Phillip Lim Creates Brand Mark for China
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