Players: Rachel Kane, founder Forever 21 parody blog, WTForever21.com; Forever 21
Cheap fashion giant Forever 21 caught wind that Kane was making fun of their clothes on at her WTForever21
blog and ordered her to remove the site or face a lawsuit. In a letter reprinted by Jezebel
, Jerry Noh, Forever 21's house councel, declared:
While we value your indicated patronage of Forever 21 stores and products and respect one's right to express his/her opinion, we cannot permit infringement upon the Company's valuable rights. Your website's name refers to an abbreviation for colloquial expression that the general public may find offensive, and such colloquial expression is being used in conjuncture with our Company's name, registered trademark, and domain name. Please note we consider such conduct and other use in your website to infringe upon and dilute the Company's trademarks. Also, you utilize images from our Company's website without permission, which infringes on the Company's copyrights in those images.
Noh demanded a "written response and compliance with the requests made herein" from Kane by May 2, 2011 and warned that if she did not compy, the company would sue her for "trademark infringement, copyright infringement, unfair competition and other unlawful conduct, and seek recovery of monetary damages, injunctive relief and attorney's fees." Jezebel notes that Forever 21 later pushed that deadline to June 10 which now also has passed.
Kane initially told Jezebel in an email that "Unless I can work something out with Forever 21, June 10 will be the last day for WTForever21.com. I am so disheartened by this." Not so fast. It's June 15 and the site is still up and running. Kane changed her mind, deciding to fight Forever 21's suit. She emailed Jezebel
, denying that her site "infinge[s] on any of Forever 21's rights. It contains only criticism, commentary and news reporting, all written in an educational and humorous manner, which are protected under applicable law." She highly doubts that "any portion of the site would ever cause confusion in the minds of the general public about whether or not Forever 21 endorses or is affiliated with it" and resolved to keep the blog up for now. "I look forward to returning to blogging about fashion atrocities like lime green, faux fur covered vests and candy colored booty shorts on WTForever21.com" she writes. "If the company continues to makes threats that have no basis in law, my attorneys are prepared to vigorously defend me and seek all available legal redress against Forever 21."
What They Say the Fight's About: They say the fight is over whether or not WTForever21 impedes Forever 21's business by presenting itself as an affiliate. Forever 21 thinks that the site's name is not only misleading but offensive, but Kane argues it is highly unlikely that anyone reading her blog would not understand that it is a joke.
What the Fight's Really About: Jezebel's Jenna Sauers explains what the fight's really about perfectly: "This seems like a textbook example of a SLAPP, a lawsuit or legal threat that is intended not to win a claim, but to silence a critic," she explains. After Kane's initial email in which she planned to concede to Forever 21's demands, Sauers predicted that Forever 21's efforts would work. Now, however, since Kane is apparently ready for a fight, we're not so sure.
Who's Winning Now:
It's unclear whether Forever 21 will actually sue, given the fact that, as of 2009, the company itself had over 50 lawsuits
filed against it from fashion houses claiming Forever 21 stole their designs. Kane, in our book, is already the winner and if she sticks to her guns and refuses to silence her blog, she will remain so.