A new line of t-shirts selling at retailer Kitson in Los Angeles, CA, are causing the latest trademark debate in the fashion world. Kitson is selling t-shirts displaying the names of three prescription drugs: Xanax, Adderall, and Vicodin. Check out the photo that was posted last week on Kitson’s website, but no longer appears there:
Besides considering whether you’d buy one of these t-shirts, since you’re reading this blog, we’re guessing that you’d be interested in finding out who owns the trademark for the drug names. In the U.S., the trademark owners are:
TMZ reported that a representative from Adderall said: “We had no involvement NOR do we approve of the sale of such a product using Adderall to glorify the misuse of our product.” A Vicodin rep told TMZ: “Prescription drug use should not be trivialized. It is a serious issue and we will be taking legal action to stop the clothing company from trying to sell such a product. And, a Xanax rep told TMZ that the company is also considering legal action.
Who created these t-shirts? Brian Lichtenberg, whose other recent creations include a parody of the Hermès logo, called Homiés and clothing sporting a Féline logo in the style of the Céline logo. Kitson posted a press release issued by Lichtenberg on its Facebook page earlier this week stating:
“I have created a collection of t-shirts that are a parody of pop culture. This particular collection of prescription tee’s is simply a commentary on what I see happening in our society. Call it what you may, but art in all forms is created off of pop culture and the social situations that surround it. A large percentage of Americans are prescribed these drugs by doctors everyday for legitimate reasons. These are not illegal substances. These tee’s are not meant to encourage prescription drug abuse, but if they open the door to a much needed dialogue, as they seem to be doing now, then mission accomplished.”
In addition to considering possible trademark issues with the t-shirts, did you happen to notice the mention of The Medicine Abuse Project in the photo above? The Partnership at Drugfree.org made a statement that it is not associated with the t-shirts and Kitson did not contact it prior to announcing the donation program. The statement on The Partnership at Drugfree.org’s website says: “The Partnership would not entertain any direct donation from Kitson while they flagrantly, and without remorse, continue to sell these products. On behalf of the parents we work with, many of whom have lost children to prescription drug abuse and addiction, we repeat our plea to remove these shirts from Kitson’s stores and website.”
Are you aware of other trademark cases that involve multiple industries?