Mansur Gavriel Filed A Lawsuit Against Bucket Bag Copycats

Photo: Melodie Jeng/Getty Images.
Mansur Gavriel is probably best known for its covetable black bucket bag (and how quickly the classic carryall sells out with every drop). In fact, that bag is so important to the brand that it's going to court to protect its signature style. The New York-based brand filed a complaint in NYC against several companies for allegedly copying one of its most distinctive offerings, according to court documents obtained by The Fashion Law.

In the lawsuit, Mansur Gavriel claims that defendants started producing "nearly identical" accessories after its bucket bags started taking off with the fashion crowd. According to the suit, Mansur Gavriel allegedly sent cease and desist letters to these companies, but the sale of the purported copycat handbags didn't stop. Now, designers Floriana Gavriel and Rachel Mansur are seeking damages, as well as calling for production to stop on the imitation bucket bags, based on trade dress protection.

Back in September, Mansur Gavriel was on the receiving end of knockoff allegations: Designer Maryam Nassir Zaheh accused the label of ripping off her designs in its inaugural range of shoes. In the brand's official statement on the matter, the designers claimed that any similarities between the footwear silhouettes were a coincidence and that "neither [Zaheh] nor we can claim ownership of a mule or slide or block heel or colour." On that note, Gavriel and Mansur also acknowledged that they "do not own the silhouette of the bucket bag or the tote."

This reflects in the lawsuit: The brand is arguing that its signature handbags are distinguishable beyond their shape. In the complaint, Mansur Gavriel goes into meticulous detail describing what features characterize its bucket bags, from two-piece leather construction and the contrasting interior and exterior to the minimal detailing and drawstring closure.

The similarities might not be enough to earn a legal win, though. For this suit to succeed, Mansur Gavriel would need to prove that the average consumer — as in, not just the street-style-savvy New York customer, but a wider audience — recognizes the bag in question as belonging to the Mansur Gavriel brand because of its features, The Fashion Law notes. Given that the bucket bag concept isn't exactly new, it may not get very far.

The brand has a section on its website warning customers about knockoffs in the market. It reads: "As a company, we are aware of the multiple dealers worldwide that sell counterfeit product and want to protect our customers from purchasing product that is not authentic." The best way to assure that, Mansur Gavriel says, is to buy your trendy handbags through its e-commerce and retail partners on restock days. (You know, if you're fast enough.)

Even if the brand doesn't walk away from the suit victorious, it certainly underscores the fact that it created an It bag so big that it warrants legal protection, which could be seen as a success indicator in its own right.

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