Freeman, Freeman & Smiley LLP

Service Details

Fashion

The fashion business is not just about clothing; it requires experienced guidance and counsel to help navigate through the complex laws and regulations which govern the industry. Our Fashion Law attorneys are uniquely placed at the crossroads of experience in all aspects of the industry, having represented the fashion and textile industries for more than 40 years.

In addition to the legal challenges in the design, manufacturing and distribution of their products, fashion companies have expanded their opportunities in the area of intellectual property. We combine our intellectual property and litigation expertise to help clients protect their trademarks, copyright and trade secrets, and assure they do not infringe on the rights of others.  We also advise on licensing opportunities and negotiations to promote growth in their business and open new markets.

Partnering with our labor and employment attorneys, we lead our clients through the California state regulations that are unique to the fashion industry, including labeling and compliance.  

Our team also has expertise in:

  • Factoring and financing
  • Overseas manufacture
  • Licensing mergers and acquisitions

The firm also serves on the board of directors of the California Fashion Association (CFA), the industry's premier trade association, through which it participates in industry education, helps shape and influence the legislation that guides the industry, and maintains its finger on the pulse.

Representative Clients and Matters

  • Represented national retailers in design patent and trade dress disputes concerning leading international footwear brand, entailing among other things sophisticated issues concerning the application of principles of patent invalidity to design patents.
  • Successful defense of a privately held jeans maker, Z. Cavarrici, in a potentially costly trademark lawsuit.  
  • Successfully seized counterfeit trademarked goods resulting in cessation of further trademark violations. 
  • Aggressive prosecution of trademark infringement on behalf of a denim maker. Ongoing counsel to various businesses in the review and evaluation of their Uniform Commercial Code forms, documentation and transactions.  
  • Dismissal of high profile, alleged slave labor charges by the U.S. Department of Labor against a contracted supplier.   
  • Defended infringement claims on behalf of national retailers relating to textile designs that implicated esoteric issues of the Copyright Act. 
  • Represented numerous national retailers and apparel manufacturers in  copyright infringement cases involving esoteric issues concerning the efficacy of collective work registrations, the minimum original contribution necessary to afford copyright protection, and issues of thin copyright.
  • Litigated copyright infringement claim over fabric design. 
  • Successfully defended sublimation printer from copyright and unfair competition claims. 
  • Represented jean manufacture in connection with gray goods importation of non-approved product.
  • Represented clothing manufacturer in connection with secured transactions covering foreign located garment inventory.
  • Represented national company in class action dispute involving failure to comply with state law regarding minimum wage, overtime, time clock rounding, meal and rest breaks, vacation, and final paychecks.  Successfully reached settlement prior to class-related notices to employees being sent.
  • Advised and represented employers who are accused of misclassifying individuals as independent contractors or consultants.
  • Advised global marketer of luxury cosmetics, fragrances, accessories and related products, and devised strategies to reduce employment liability exposure.   
  • Advised start-ups regarding organization, garment manufacturing license requirements, trademark and related issues.  
  • Represented both manufactures and employees regarding issues of protection or violation of trade secret information.

Presentations & Publications