Browse all

Supreme vs Supreme Italia statements

Clarification on the first official Supreme statements on the Supreme Italy case

Supreme vs Supreme Italia statements Clarification on the first official Supreme statements on the Supreme Italy case

For more than two years now, nss magazine has been following the legal issues between Supreme and Supreme Italia, which after the Samsung case has become a global topic. We have studied the case in-depth since its inception and the story - centred around the problematic issues of registering Supreme and its box logo - is so interesting because not only it has to do with fashion and hype, but also because it tells the tale of where the world is heading in 2019 in regards to topics such as global intellectual property, underground fashion, and future capitalism. We have always aimed to maintain an impartial and journalistic point of view in these matters.

Supreme NY has never directly commented on the story, except for a recent IG story published during the Samsung case, which represents the first real moment of corporate communication from the New York brand. Yesterday Hypebeast collected the first public statements from the Supreme legal team of James Jebbia and Chapter 4 Corp. (the US company that holds the Supreme trademark) about the opening of Supreme Italia's first store in Shanghai with direct accusations against IBF (the company that controls the Supreme Italy brand) at the moment of highest growth of the company. 


The Statements

Within the last month, Supreme NY has completely changed and ramped up its previously mute public defence strategy towards Supreme Italia following the announcement of IBF of the opening of 70 physical stores all over the world last December. 

Supreme NY never commented directly on these matters and has repeatedly refused to release any sort of comment. This silence was abruptly broken by the IG video FUCK THE FAKES, which announced a change in strategy and the hunting down of the fakes. 
The statements issued yesterday by Hypebeast is a continuation of this strategy, that attacks from a legal point of view IBF, stating that Supreme Italia is not allowed to sell products in China and in Italy

The most important points of discussion

The main point of the Supreme NY statement concerns the legitimacy of the opening and selling of Supreme Italia in China
According to the American brand, it would be illegal since the brand is not registered. We at nss magazine checked - a public database gathering the registration of trademarks from all over the world - where two trademarks are present ("Supreme" and "Supreme Spain") both registered by IBF and active under the WIPO (World Property International Organization), which seems to have validity also in China. On the other hand, Chapter 4 Corp. seems to never have registered the brand Supreme in China and it would appear that there's a pending request, which was filed in December 2018, around the time of the Samsung case, but has yet to be accepted. 
In addition, Supreme NY doesn't have any physical store in China and it furthermore does not ship its products there, as every Supreme NY fan knows. 

In the Supreme NY statement, there's a reference to the current legal battles going on in Italy. To nss' knowledge, Supreme have not won any intellectual property lawsuit against Supreme Italy and all the judgments still in progress (between Milan, Trani, Forlì, and Rimini) are still at first their instance with no definitive sentence. Nonetheless, Supreme Italy cannot operate in Italy due to a restriction from the Milan court, and as far as we know, Supreme Italia are respecting this decision. Supreme Italy does not have the right to operate in Italy, due to a judicial Order from 2017 which prohibits any advertising, production or sale of products with Supreme, Supreme Italy or Supreme Spain brands. The legal problems Supreme NY is facing in Europe are caused by two sentences of the EUIPO - The European Union Office for Intellectual Property - which refused the registration of the Supreme trademark by Chapter 4 because it lacks some fundamental characteristics to be registered and protected, as Highsnobiety has recently highlighted.  

Stay tuned to nss magazine for the continued facts of the case, which started from the fashion world, and has now definitely become a legal battle concerning international intellectual property.