Express Loses Copyright Claim Over Plaid Shorts

     (CN) – Clothing retailer Express Ltd. failed to prove that Forever 21 copied its designs for men’s plaid shorts and a track jacket, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled.

     Express accused the rival clothing seller of copying its designs for four pairs of plaid shorts and a track jacket.
     Express designer Michael Tower said he based the plaid designs on pictures and swatches of different plaids, which the company has since discarded.
     “This undisputed testimony establishes that each of Express’s plaids was derived from at least one identifiable pre-existing source and, therefore, are derivative works,” U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II wrote.
     “Moreover, it establishes that Express has no proof whatsoever that Express made any particular changes to the source material, let alone changes that are sufficiently creative to warrant copyright protection.”
     Tower’s claim that he “colored up” the original plaid designs, among other alleged modifications, is “unsupported by even a scintilla of … evidence,” Wright concluded.
     The judge also rejected Express’ trade dress claim, because the company failed to prove that consumers associate the jacket exclusively with Express.

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