Can you trademark 'LA Fashion Week'? Someone has, with October shows now in the works

Use of 'LA Fashion Week' protected by 2012 Patent Office filing

Although the last round of Los Angeles Fashion Week runway shows and presentations is barely in the rearview mirror, plans are already underway for the next one --- including Thursday’s announcement of an “official” LA Fashion Week set to take place Oct. 6 to 11 at downtown’s Union Station.

So far, details about the new slate of shows are few and far between with Thursday’s announcement serving as a save-the-date for a more formal announcement event scheduled for June 29 at the W Hotel in Hollywood. And while there have been so many iterations, versions, manifestations and attempts at organizing a fashion week in the City of Angels that another group in the mix hardly qualifies as news, there was one line in the emailed announcement that caught our eye. It read, in part, “Although the ‘official’ LA Fashion Week has been on hiatus since 2008, we are back in full force!”  And yes, the quotes around the word “official” were in the original text.

Those who follow these things as closely as we do may recognize 2008 as the year the wheels came off the partnership between Smashbox Studios in Culver City and NYC-based event producer IMG ending the closest thing L.A. had to a unified fashion week. But to the best of our recollection, neither that group nor any of the smaller efforts that unspooled that year claimed to be an “official” fashion week. And to be honest, we’re not even sure what that designation exactly means. For the last several years the organizers of Style Fashion Week have held themselves out as “the Official Fashion Week of Los Angeles” though as far as we’ve been able to determine, that assertion is based primarily on a proclamation of support from Los Angeles City Councilman Curren D. Price Jr., in whose district that event was long held.

Reps over at the upstart group couldn’t immediately answer our questions, noting that the event’s executive producer Arthur Chipman was traveling and unavailable. While we’re hoping to catch up with Chipman at some point next week, we decided to do what most journalists might do on a Friday afternoon – dig around the Internet a bit. We found the LinkedIn profile of one Arthur Tito Chipman, described as a project marketing director with an impressive CV that includes a 2012-2015 stint as business development director of Vancouver Fashion Week. What’s even more interesting is the discovery that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database lists a Tito Chipman as the registered owner of the service mark “LA Fashion Week” as it applies to “[a]rranging and conducting special events for business purposes …” with a listed first use of October 2012.

In short, it looks like Chipman’s use of the phrase “LA Fashion Week” (exclusively, it appears) is protected under U.S. law – and that very well could be the basis for his event to wrap itself in the mantle of officialdom. At this point, there are a lot of things we don’t know about the new kid on the block. But there’s one thing we know for certain: It’s going to take a whole lot more than an official designation or trademark protection to make a new Los Angeles Fashion Week successful.

No matter what it’s called.

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