November 14, 2019
Designer Virgil Abloh’s brand, Off-White, sought trademark protection for the words, and the quotation marks surrounding the words, “Product Bag”.
The application indicates that the brand has been using this specific phrasing since 2016, mostly on clothing. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Off White’s preliminary application on the basis that the phrase does not function as a trademark, does not indicate the source of the goods, and does not identify or distinguish Off-White goods from any other goods. If Off-White still intends to seek trademark protection, the brand must now put forward an item that adequately demonstrates “a connection between the mark and the goods identified in the application.”
Abloh has been involved in other legal matters as of late, including a now-settled suit against Rastaclat for use of the word “Off” on various items including ashtrays, lighters, and cigarette holders. The company is also currently battling a lawsuit against an unrelated company named OffWhite Productions LLC, which has claimed that Abloh’s Off-White has infringed the LLC’s trademark.
Authors: Amanda Bertucci and Zach Hershenfeld