The New York Herald Tribune hasn’t been published since the late ’60s and it would likely not be remembered by most were it not for the now-iconic image of original manic pixie dream girl Jean Seberg attempting to sell copies of the paper on the streets of Paris in the 1960 film Breathless (or Ã€ bout de souffle for those who insist on such things). Regardless, the New York Times company apparently has a pending trademark on the logo and will sue you if you try to use it.
We were tipped off to the fact by the people at custom shirt company Neighborhoodies, who were just served a cease-and-desist on selling their version of the shirt Seberg wears in the film.
Here’s Neighborhoodies take on the situation:
Our perspective on the matter is that the Times doesn’t use this trademark — we’re the ones who came up with the idea of recreating the shirt (our founder Michael made it for himself for a Halloween costume in 2007) — they don’t sell the shirt, they’ve never shown interest in the mark, so why should they prevent others from enjoying this wonderful bit of film culture?
The letter from the Times gives Neighborhoodies three (3) business days to provide the following:
1. The total number of infringing products that you have produced;
2. The total number of infringing products now in your inventory;
3. The total number of infringing products that you have sold; and
4. The sales price at retail for the infringing products.
Who do you think is in the right here? Should Neighborhoodies bow to the legal letter and stop selling the shirt, even though the title hasn’t existed — and the Times has not actively attempted to profit from the trademark — in over 40 years?
In the meantime, Neighborhoodies is still selling the shirt… for now.