Virgil Abloh Is at the Center of a Lawsuit Over the Use of the ‘Off-White’ Name

Virgil Abloh’s Off-White brand has been hit with a trademark infringement suit by creative agency OffWhite Co., which claims the name is too close to the one it has used since the late 1990s — well before Abloh’s label was founded in 2012.

Filed Sunday in the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York, the company alleged that Abloh’s Off-White LLC “established and promoted multiple entities and products that infringe [on OffWhite Co.’s] OffWhite trademark,” which was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014.

The company also accused Abloh’s brand of using a design that can be confused with OffWhite Co.’s trademark. It added an exhibit of Off-White LLC’s application to register a trademark incorporating the word “OFF” in a graphic arrangement that OffWhite Co. claims is “unmistakably similar” to one of its own logos.

In the suit, the company said that it had sent a cease-and-desist letter to Abloh’s business in February.

An exhibit in OffWhite Co. v. Off-White LLC filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.
An exhibit in OffWhite Co. v. Off-White LLC.
CREDIT: U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York

Additionally, OffWhite Co. alleged that Off-White’s actions on social media have “substantially compromised” the “plaintiff’s ability to make effective use of the #OffWhite hashtag to promote its business and marks.” OffWhite Co. further claims its website has been delisted the first page in Google searches because of Off-White LLC’s alleged SEO practices.

“[The] defendants actions have not only resulted in a likelihood of confusion, actual confusion and reverse confusion, but in dilution of the OffWhite trademark and effectively dooming [the] plaintiff’s ability to make use of, develop and enjoy the benefits of its brand,” the company wrote in the suit.

OffWhite Co. is seeking —  among other remedies — an injunction barring Abloh’s business from using the OffWhite trademark and the OffWhite “circle mark.”

FN has reached out to Abloh’s team for comment.

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