Last year, Saint Laurent pulled all of its clothing out of the Parisian boutique Colette because the store was selling parody T-shirts that read, “Ain’t Laurent Without Yves.” The brand behind the parody is What About Yves, and the T-shirts were made in response to Creative Director Hedi Slimane’s decision to officially remove “Yves” (the name of the label’s founder) from the company’s name.
Turns out, Yves Saint Laurent hasn’t forgotten about the “parody” tee. The Paris-based design house has filed a lawsuit against its creator. That’s right, Yves Saint Laurent (via Luxury Goods International “LGI,” the company that owns its intellectual property rights) filed suit against What About Yves and its founder, Jeanine Heller, last week in the Southern District of New York court, citing claims of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, and unfair competition, all stemming from the tee.
As of January 2013, Heller began selling t-shirts bearing the slogan, Ain’t Laurent Without Yves. LGI claims that despite repeatedly being put on notice of the infringing nature of the t-shirts, Heller continued to sell the t-shirts (and may still be selling them). She even filed to register Ain’t Laurent Without Yves with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in April 2013, which the USPTO challenged as it found that Heller’s mark was too similar to existing Yves Saint Laurent marks, and likely to cause confusion amongst consumers.