California Retailer Files Class Action Against Ivanka Trump Brand for Unfair Competition

By George Khoury, Esq. on March 22, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A San Francisco women's clothing and accessories business has sued Ivanka Trump's brand alleging claims of unfair competition. The claims stem from the marketing and promotion of Ivanka Trump's brand by herself and her husband, who are White House employees, as well as her father, President Trump, his advisor Kellyanne Conway, and even, media-favorite, Sean Spicer.

Basically, the San Francisco retailer is claiming that the promotion of Ivanka's Trump brand by those associated with the White House violates state and federal unfair competition laws, as well as the Constitution of the United States. Furthermore, the lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of all other women's clothing retailers in California that are victims of Ivanka Trump's brand's unfair advantage due to its proximity to the president.

What Is Unfair Competition?

Unfair competition claims can encompass a whole host of different actions. Generally, unfair competition can result in harm to both consumers and other businesses. In the consumer context, unfair competition claims involve such actions as "bait-and-switch" advertising, purchasing counterfeit goods, or even simple false advertising. In the business context, unfair competition can include such actions as trademark infringement, stealing trade secrets, and currying favor with public officials and politicians for preferential government treatment.

Unfair competition claims can be brought by businesses against one and other because businesses have more to lose than consumers, and have more legal power (money) to fight these battles.

The Lawsuit Against Ivanka's Brand

In the lawsuit filed against Ivanka Trump's brand, the allegations clearly implicate the Trump administration in helping to curry favor in the public for the Ivanka Trump brand. Specific tweets by President Trump, statements by Conway, Spicer, and ever herself, are being used as the basis for the allegations. Additionally, a recent report has shown that after these very public mentions of support for her brand, Ivanka Trump brand saw its largest ever jump in sales.

Despite the brand no longer being carried by many retailers that wish to distance themselves from the seemingly constant controversy surrounding the Trump name, online fashion search engine Lyst noted that the brand jumped from 550th in January to 11th in February.

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