Gwen Stefani Sues Forever 21 For Trademark Infringement

Gwen Stefani doesn’t like it when Forever 21 does knock-offs of her designer clothes, according to MSNBC. Gwen’s reps claim that Forever 21 is “marketing, promoting, and selling products featuring a design ‘virtually indistinguishable’ from Harajuku’s signature heart/box logo”


The lawsuit claims Forever 21 “changed a couple of words in the Heart/Box Trademark, which are inconspicuous and likely to go unnoticed by a consumer.”

Specifically, the lawsuit claims Forever 21 used the design but changed the word “Harajuku” to “Forever” and the word “Lovers” to “Love.”

We took a look at both Harajuku’s and Forever 21’s website and didn’t see any clothes that fit the description given in news reports, (except maybe this one?) but maybe you guys can find the ones they’re talking about.

As far as we can see, Harajuku Lovers could be sued by Hello Kitty and/or the entire country of Japan for nearly the same thing… but what do we know about fashion. Nothing, that’s what.

Gwen Stefani sues Forever 21 [MSNBC]
Harajuku Lovers
Forever 21


Edit Your Comment

  1. The HZA. says:

    Perez Hilton had a picture of the shirt in question a few days ago. It’s pretty much identical.

  2. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    There’s something on the shirt?

  3. ancientsociety says:

    @doctor_cos: LOL, exactly what I was thinking…

  4. Falconfire says:

    someone should tell Gwen that you cant call stealies when you stole it from the numberous Engrish shirts already out there yourself.

    All she did was put a 100 dollar pricetag on what you could get from Japan for 4 bucks.

  5. The HZA. says:

    Here is a comparison;


  6. whereismyrobot says:

    There is no way this lawsuit can go anywhere. She stole from an entire culture and then someone else steals from her. I hope forever slutty one wins this one.

  7. Erzengel says:

    What shirt?

  8. nucleotide says:

    @Falconfire: Uh? You obviously have not purchased t-shirts in japan. I however purchased a few from Tokyu Hands and they were very spendy. FYI, the 4 dollar shirts live in china.

  9. Thrust says:

    Oh, poor spoiled rich white girl who used to be in a good band and now is stuck doing solo crap. Whatever shall she do if nobody is buying her T-Shirts?

  10. Heyref says:

    @Thrust: Most rockers in those circumstances do drugs. :-)

  11. brianary says:

    “Intellectual” “Property”. Hah!

  12. Thrust says:

    @Heyref: Oh no’s. Now she’ll be hooked on teh smack and has no monies from teh Tee-Shirts no selly. Her singing might improve though.

  13. hallik says:

    I love how most of the comments on that link are from girls who are dissing the store because of it’s cheapness. “Like, oh my god, Forever 21 is soooo uncool, I hate it to death now, even though I have nothing intelligible to add about the lawsuit, other than the fact that I loooove Gwen!”

    Blekh >.< Hello Kitty ftw!

  14. Falconfire says:

    @zirkus: wow is sarcasm lost on you…

    The basic fact is, both of Gwens companies sell clothing that is already popular with the bulk of the kids in that scene for upscale costs… like how the Gap started selling flannel for yuppies when Grunge was popular.

    You cant go calling rippoff, when you yourself are already ripping off something thats popular, and selling it for a much higher price. As it is half her designs can be found elsewhere with very little change between hers, and the originals.

  15. asherchang says:

    Isn’t Harajuku a really fashionable location in Japan centered around the Gyaru subculture/fashion? How can its name + “lovers” constitute any sort of defensible “intellectual property”?

  16. rdldr1 says:

    I used to work in clothing retail. Forever 21 gets sued quite abit because their designers tend to “borrow too heavily” from other designers.

  17. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Gwen Stefani’s music sucks, so it’s okay to steal her trademarked designs.

    … am I getting that right?

    Note to self: only special people deserve to have intellectual property.

  18. Kierst_thara says:

    Am I the only one who’d be interested in seeing a graduate level sociology paper on the different reactions to this exact same article as posted here vs. the one up on Jezebel?


    I’m sure it must mean something….

  19. Lee2706 says:

    Yeah, there’s no intellectual property being stolen here. Gwen’s stolen a culture to push forward her “music,” how do you trademark being Japanese. Ugh I hate her and her exploitation of Japanese women.

  20. hoosierdaddy812 says:

    wow, a celebrity is complaining about people stealing/copywriting “their” designs. Isn’t she already worth millions? Also, as everyone has already said she is simply copying off the ideas of Japanese fashion and simply marking up the price. Quit complaining considering you have more money then you know what to do with.

    Then again it’s probably just her laywers trying to make a quick buck. Those greedy *******!

  21. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    @Lee2706: Umm… I’d hardly call Gwen even remotely “Harajuku”. The boys and girls of the area in harajuku dress that way to better express themselves. Gwen’s rehashing PRs and ANRs do what they do best… rehash, regurgitate, and bring out only the waste from said fashion, and not the soul and spirit of said style.

    To equate what I see of Gwen’s take on Harajuku is to compare Atari’s translations of Namco’s Pac-Man and Nintendo’s Donkey Kong on the VCS. You can kinda make out the shapes and ideas, but it is far from authentic to the original.

    Gwen, like her PRs and ANRs will never get it… and frankly, neither do the people that buy her monstrosities. Luckily, there are online shops out there that have the real thing available, and cost slightly less than Gwen’s garbage.

  22. Carson Daly says:

    I’m glad Gwen’s rich ass is suing F21 and drawing attention to their store, because my poor ass forgot how cute (yes, cute) and inexpensive F21’s clothes are. They fall apart after a few washes, but you still get your $10 worth.

    I’m actually ordering the top Consumerist linked to right now.

    Lawsuits = great publicity.

  23. Steel_Pelican says:

    I remember when Gwen Stefani was a musician.

  24. majortom1981 says:

    Wow . People are such hypocrites here. Just because she is rich does not mean people get to steal her stuff.

  25. Steel_Pelican says:

    @majortom1981: Nobody’s stealing anything. Breaking into someone’s house and taking their TV is stealing. Imitating a popular, public design is not. If anything, this is copyright infringement, which, contrary to what the RIAA would have you believe, is NOT stealing.

  26. godai says:

    Harajuku is an area between Shinjuku and Shibuya

  27. The_Duke says:

    This is clearly not infringing an existing tradmark because the words are different, and you can’t trademark just a pink shirt with words.

    I believe the only place general “fashion” is protected IP is in France through copyright.

  28. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @Steel_Pelican: Well, trademark infringement, I think. But Major Tom’s point still stands — just because she’s rich doesn’t mean it’s okay for people to infringe on her trademarks.

    And as for the whole “she’s just stealing Japanese culture” thing people are talking about — yes, I agree that her Orientalist cultural appropriation is disgusting. However, I’ve yet to see anyone prove that she’s infringed on someone else’s trademark. As far as I can tell, therefore, she has a right to protect her registered intellectual property, however lame, unattractive, or racist it may be.

  29. Trae says:

    Clearly most people commenting here haven’t clicked over to the Perez Hilton link ([]) in someone’s comment and *looked* at the infringing design. The logo that is talked about in this lawsuit is very specific in design, and the bootleg version is clearly infringing on a trademarked property.

    So what if Gwen Stefani is appropriating as much Japanese culture as she can? So what if her music is terrible? That doesn’t change the fact that there is a clear issue going on here. Here’s a rule guys – think first, *then* reply.

  30. Transuranic says:

    Am I the only one who’d be interested in seeing a graduate level sociology paper on the different reactions to this exact same article as posted here vs. the one up on Jezebel? I’m sure it must mean something….

    Yes – it means sociology grad students are on par with the blog commenter hoi polloi.

  31. hawks66 says:

    I’m going to make T-shirts that say ‘Just Do It’ all over them, since apparently trademarks mean nothing anymore. I mean, how can you copyright a phrase like just do it? its just ripping off doing things!
    C’mon people, this is obviously F21 trying to cash in on Gwen’s clothing line popularity. Unless my understanding of copyright laws is off, then they should get ripped.