Playboy Files Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against Fashion Company Over Iconic Bunny Costume
Steven T. Lowe
On October 27, 2020, Playboy Enterprises filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Fashion Nova, an online retail company, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. According to the complaint, Fashion Nova created and sold a replica of Playboy’s iconic bunny costume “throughout the peak of the Halloween costume season.”
In the complaint, Playboy provides a side-by-side comparison of the two costumes–which consist of “cuffs, a collar, a bowtie, a corset, a ribbon name tag, bunny ears, and a tail,”–noting “Fashion Nova’s blatant copying” and alleging “Fashion Nova’s marketing and sale of the Infringing Products is plainly an attempt to piggyback off of the popularity and renown of Playboy’s iconic BUNNY COSTUME®, which Playboy has cultivated for more than six decades.”
Playboy also alleges that in an attempt to deceive customers about Fashion Nova’s association with Playboy, the fashion retailer advertised its bunny costume by describing the product using the phrase “Bunny of the Month,” “a clear and unauthorized reference to Playboy’s famous PLAYMATE OF THE MONTH trademark, which Playboy began using in 1954 in connection with the Playboy magazine.” Prior to filing the complaint, Playboy sent Fashion Nova a cease and desist letter, with which they did not comply. According to the complaint, Playboy filed the lawsuit in an attempt to “protect its brand and put an end to Fashion Nova’s latest attempt to copy the famous designs and trademarks of others.”
Playboy is represented by Daniel C. Posner, Marshall M. Searcy III, and Dylan C. Bonfigli of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan LLP.
Counsel information for Fashion Nova was not available at this time.
The case is Playboy Enterprises International Inc. v. Fashion Nova Inc., case number 2:20-cv-09846, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.