Fashion Trademarks: Taiwan Denies Jason Wu “Miss Wu” Trademark

by T+B Blog Team on February 7, 2013

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicks off in New York City today — the first of the worldwide Fashion Weeks followed by London, Milan, and Paris. Fashion is big business in New York City and last year Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg revealed that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week had an economic impact of $865 million on the city. With more than 500 fashion shows and more than 230,000 attendees, New Yorkers are ready for a fashion frenzy, along with a few traffic jams.

A fashion designer who’s been featured in the media recently is now in the news about a trademark issue. Jason Wu, the designer of First Lady Michelle Obama’s inaugural ball dresses both this year and back in 2009, has been denied a trademark for his “Miss Wu” clothing line in his native Taiwan.

Wu, whose family emigrated from Taiwan to Canada when he was a child, has already registered the Miss Wu brand in the U.S. and several European Union countries. He has also applied for trademarks for his haute couture and accessories lines. But, a Taiwanese court recently rejected his Miss Wu registration on the grounds that the name was too generic; “Wu” is a fairly common surname in Taiwan. The court ruled “Miss Wu is just a title and cannot be exclusively associated with Jason Wu.” In addition, Focus Taiwan reported that “IPO Director-General Wang Mei-hua said the bureau rejected the “MISS WU” trademark registration, for its inherent distinctiveness, acquired distinctiveness or convincing figures to prove its brand awareness.”

If you’re interested in following who’s hot in the fashion world, check out Blouin Artinfo’s “5 Emerging Designers to Watch at New York Fashion Week.” And if you prefer history to future trends, you can take a walk down memory lane and view the inaugural gowns of America’s First Ladies by visiting the National Museum of American History exhibit online.

Do you know of any other fashion designer name trademarks rejected because of a lack of distinctiveness?

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