If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Ed Hardy is blushing. The former tattoo-artist turned hideous sweatshirt-designer has hired an entire team of workers just to deal with the growing problem of fake Ed Hardy designs online. Are the fake-bronzed, silver-backed beefcakes who wear these awful sweatshirts too cheap to go for the gold?
Even googling "Ed Hardy Sweatshirts" will not only make you go blind, but also lead you to dozens of fake "discount" websites full of knock-off Ed Hardy designs.
Sure we make fun of Ed Hardy online because we’re too scared to say anything to the faces of the beefy Mickey Rourke-types who wear his sweatshirts, but knock-offs have always plagued the fashion world.
Lawsuits are costly and often fruitless, since fakes are difficult to prove. By the time a copy-cat is produced, the original designer is already working on next season. According to NPR, "Under U.S. law, a company can’t copyright a design, but it can register elements of that design as trademarks."
But Ed Hardy is big business. His perfume alone has sold $85 million so far this year.
The New York Times reported on this grey area:
“’This is a particularly difficult situation and is what lawyers politely call an unsettled area of law,’ said Mark F. Radcliffe, an intellectual property lawyer at DLA Piper.
Mr. Rosenberg must keep track of ads pointing to fake sites and submit removal requests to Google on a regular basis. ‘Even if Google gets one, they just set up another site and ads in a matter of minutes,’ he said. ‘The counterfeiters are so much faster than Google.’"
Did we find enough ways to mention that these sweatshirts are ugly?