Apr 28, 2022

How Confusing Can One Shop Be?

Global fashion giant Zara claims House of Zana has an “identical brand”, and has launched action at a tribunal. Owner of House of Zana, Amber Kotrri started the small fashion company in 2018 whilst living in Albania with her husband. The retailer specialises in handmade kimonos and opened a retail shop in Darlington, County Durham.

Ms Kotrri attempted to trade mark the business name but received an opposition from Zara as well as a letter from its legal team alleging the brand was identical and would cause confusion amongst consumers. Reportedly, the letter said customers may “misread, mishear, mispronounce and/or otherwise perceive House of Zana as Zara” and that the brand name “dilutes the distinctiveness and reputation of the Zara brand”.

In response, Zara produced an agreement providing Ms Kotrri agreed to change the brand and remove all existing branding. However, Ms Kotrri refused and denied any risk of customer confusion. The name of the brand means “fairy” in Albanian and is meaningful to Ms Kotrri and her family.

As a result of public support, House of Zana has launched a petition on change.org for signature “if you do not think the average consumer will confuse House of Zana with ZARA and demand that they withdraw their legal opposition to the House of Zana trademark.” So far, the petition has received 5,400 signatures. The tribunal hearing is scheduled to take place in May 2022. It will be interesting to see if Ms Kotrri receives the same support from the tribunal.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 291 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

in: Case Law, Companies, Legal News, News, Passing Off, Trade Marks

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