23 Dec 2021

4 Popular Global IP Infringement Cases



Intellectual property (IP) is an umbrella term for any intangible or non-physical assets owned by a company, including patents, trademarks and copyrights. 


Intellectual property infringement refers to a breach or violation of the intellectual property rights of an owner or organisation. If an organisation’s work that is protected under IP laws is copied or used without permission, it qualifies as an IP breach. The IP owner can take legal action and demand compensation for the infringement. 


IP infringement is a regular affair and companies need to be vigilant to ensure their IP is safeguarded. Some popular infringement cases to be noted are:

  1. Louis Vuitton v. Louis Vuiton Dak | Can I get a fried chicken, please?                                                                    Iconic luxury brand Louis Vuitton got into a trademark battle with a South Korean restaurant with a shockingly similar name. The court ruled in favour of the heritage luxury company stating that the brand and packaging of the restaurant Louis Vuiton Dak, were too similar to that of Louis Vuitton. 
  2. Adidas v. Forever 21 | The case of the three stripes!                                                                                                        Forever 21 launched a range of clothes with 3 stripes. The 3 stripe design is globally associated with Adidas, who have invested millions to safeguard this visual and create the brand association. Adidas representatives claimed that the products by F21 which included the three stripes were as good as counterfeit products, since people would purchase them because of the Adidas brand image. Going by an article published on www.fashionnetwork.com, Adidas agreed to an out-of-court settlement in 2017, however the terms of the settlement were not disclosed. 
  3. Starbucks v. Coffee Culture Cafe | Who drank my coffee?                                                                                          Starbucks filed an infringement case against New York based Coffee Culture Cafe over a dispute regarding the name of a beverage. The New York based cafe launched a coffee beverage called Fredduccino, which was similar to Starbucks’ Frappuccino. Starbucks claimed that this similarity was good enough to impact their brand equity and create confusion in the minds of their loyal customers. No data is available on the verdict of the case. 
  4. Mattel Inc. v. MGA Entertainment | Spot the real Barbie girl                                                                                  Mattel Inc. created the original Barbie doll which got extremely popular among young girls all over the world. When Barbie was about 40 years old, MGA launched a range of dolls called ‘Bratz’ dolls. These dolls gained popularity due to their distinctive design – large heads and slender bodies. To retaliate, Mattel launched a range of dolls called “My Scene”. MGA filed a lawsuit against Mattel, citing the similarity in the design. Mattel got back with another lawsuit claiming that the Bratz designer C. Bryant, actually designed the dolls while being employed with Mattel. The court ruled in favour of Mattel and MGA paid a hefty sum to settle the damages. 

Global cases of IP infringement give us a better understanding of how we can protect our copyright, and keep an eye out for such infringements. Having a trusted IP expert can help your brand or business safeguard your intellectual property. 


Globe Detective Agency specialises in detecting and verifying such activities and taking the necessary next steps to protect your IP.