Victoria’s Secret Trademarks Play on Competitor’s Name
Lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret has always had a way of getting consumers’ attention. The company’s latest marketing moves, however, are also raising eyebrows in the intellectual property community.
Victoria’s Secret recently sought a pair of trademarks for the name “Victoria’s Secret First Love,” one for beauty products and the other for clothing. If approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the trademarks would give parent company L Brands the exclusive right to use the name in association with its products. Victoria’s Secret started using the name “First Love” at an annual fashion show last year, according to WWD.com.
The move also appears to be a not so subtle jab at competitor ThirdLove, a relatively new competitor funded in part by a former Victoria’s Secret corporate official. The Silicon Valley based company uses apps to help customers measure their bra size without having to go to a physical store. It also offers half cup sizes for what ThirdLove calls a more customized fit.
War of Words
The competitors have been sniping at each other through the press. ThirdLove Chief Executive Officer Hedi Zak last year penned an open letter in the New York Times chiding L Brands boss Ed Razek for telling Vogue that his company will not cast transgender or plus-size models in its annual televised fashion show.
Razek, incidentally had used the interview to also take a shot at the upstart competitor:
“We’re nobody’s third love, he said. “We’re their first love. And Victoria’s Secret has been women’s first love from the beginning.”
Here’s how Zak responded in the Times letter:
“ThirdLove is the antithesis of Victoria’s Secret. We believe the future is building a brand for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Some Love From USPTO
Victoria’s Secret got half a win from the Patent and Trademark Office.
The feds approved the “First Love” trademark for cosmetics and other beauty products. The office declined, however, to protect the company’s use of the phrase on clothing.
The decision had nothing to do with the similarities between the first and third loves, according to Fortune. Instead, the USPTO denied the trademark because it was already being used by a garment manufacturer in New York.
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