Why Balenciaga Just Started a Legal Battle with a Pet Clothing Brand

A North Carolina-based company that specializes in “streetwear for dogs” is coming up against some heavyweight legal competition after applying to register the trademark “Pawlenciaga” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

On Monday, Balenciaga’s lawyers filed a notice of opposition to Printing By Demand, LLC’s application to trademark the punny slogan for pet clothing, arguing that allowing the company to register the mark would cause confusion and dilute the Balenciaga brand.

The pet brand could face an uphill climb if it were to argue that the mark is a parody: The USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has never upheld such a defense, trademark attorney Roberto Ledesm told The Fashion Law. It does, however, have precedent on its side if it continues to sell the puppy-sized sweaters and dog towels and the Kering-owned brand decides to sue: the site points to another case involving a pet brand, Haute Diggity Dog, that in 2007 won the right to sell “Chewy Vuitton” pet toys on the basis of a “successful parody.”

Printing By Demand, LLC has also applied to register the trademarks “Anti Social Social Pup” and “Pupreme,” both of which appear on its products, as well as “Pawmain Pets,” the name under which it does business. Both Supreme and Pierre Balmain S.A.S. have filed for extensions of time to oppose the trademark registrations, which the USTPO has granted. They will have until Nov. 21 and Oct. 13 to file their oppositions, respectively.

The brand also makes items parodying the logos of brands like Off-White, Palace and Hermès, though it has yet to file for any protections for the marks.

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