November 22, 2018
Jimmy Choo, the footwear brand, recently filed a request to invalidate a trademark for the name “Jerry Chu” registered with the China Trademark Office. Jerry Chu is the English name of Xianjie Zhu, a Chinese student studying fashion at Central Saint Martins in London. Chu applied for the trademark anticipating that he may wish to start a menswear line in the future.
Jimmy Choo is alleging that Chu’s name is too similar to their own, and will cause confusion with their trademark. In the past, the company has successfully invalidated other trademarks with similar names like Jenny Choo and Ray Choo.
Susan Scafidi, the founder and director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University School of Law noted that “Jimmy Choo may well have assumed that the Jerry Chu registration was just another attempt to trade on the established Jimmy Choo name, since soundalike registrations are a particular problem in countries like China, whose primary writing system uses characters rather than letters.”
Chu posted the court documents and addressed Jimmy Choo’s claim on his Instagram page. Though it’s unclear how long it will take for a decision to be rendered, one thing is for certain: the dispute has given Chu a significant amount of publicity. As he told Business of Fashion: “I’m surprised so many people would care about me, an independent designer, a student.”