03/03/2016
A case of copyright.

Words by

Veronica Stanford

Australian swimwear giant Triangl seems to be the next big brand attempting to combat a growing market of knockoffs. The brand, which is now earning upwards of $45 million annually, has been the source of ‘inspiration’ for several swimwear brands of late, including names as big as Victoria’s Secret.

Of the issue, co-founder Craig told BoF last year: "It's really frustrating. The biggest labels in the world with the best [intellectual property] lawyers can't even do it. Even Louis Vuitton deals with it all the time."

Last week, Triangl took the first steps in attempting to combat a portion of the marketthat is replicating its bikinis. Triangl has filed suit against Jiangmen City Xinhui District Lingzhi Garment Co., and other intellectual property pirate defendants.

The suit has been filed with the New York Southern District Court and will see Triangl sue the defendants based on its intellectual property rights. According to The Fashion Law, the case covers trade dress infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin, copyright infringement and injury to business reputation. 

It is not clear whether Lingzhi is still the manufacturer of Triangl bikinis, however the suit claims that Lingzhi was a manufacturer in the early days of Triangl production. Lingzhi was used by Triangl to make swimwear products for Triangl before the launch.

Triangl claims that after business began to grow, Lingzhi began manufacturing identical Triangl bikinis and reselling them to third parties.

According to The Fashion Law, the lawsuit states:

"Shortly after the Triangl business began to take off and Triangl’s orders for production with Lingzhi began to increase, Triangl discovered that Lingzhi was surreptitiously manufacturing, offering to sell and selling knockoff Triangl-branded products and other products infringing Triangl’s trade dress and copyrighted designs to third-party customers.”

As it currently stands, Triangl bikinis are exclusively sold on the Triangl’s online store.  Triangl claims that Lingzhi has sold bikinis that infringe Triangl’s trade dress and designs

under at least two different brand names: ‘Brakinis’ and ‘Vossue’. 

The suit states:

“Lingzhi is unlawfully deriving sales and profits from the Knockoff Bikinis, and Triangl is suffering immediate and ongoing irreparable harm to its goodwill and reputation, as well as substantial financial damages. Although Defendants’ scheme is global in nature, it particularly harms Triangl in the U.S., Triangl’s primary marketplace, and in New York, the leading state for Triangl’s U.S. sales.”

Triangl also claims that Lingzhi has promoted the knockoffs using copyrighted images from Triangl’s website. It’s backed up this allegation by citing specific source codes which are identical to the codes Triangl uses in connection with the images on its site. 

Triangl is seeking damages including loss of profit and injunctive relief which would see a court order delivered to immediately and permanently prohibit the defendants from manufacturing, making and selling the product in question.

australia.triangl.com

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