What Do Gap, Disney and Karl Lagerfeld Have in Common? Getting Sued.

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on June 13, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A pair of jeans, Mickey Mouse and Karl Lagerfeld walk into a bar. Sounds like the makings of a bad joke, but they all are making their way to a bar -- just not the kind that provides booze. The Gap, Disney and Karl Lagerfeld are all getting sued.

Read on to see why they are getting sued, and take note -- your company could be next.

Gap's Alleged Misleading Sales Flyers

A miffed consumer is suing The Gap, in a California class action lawsuit, for misleading sales flyers both in store, and online, reports Top Class Actions. Though the sales flyers made note of exceptions in small print, the plaintiffs are arguing that they "psychologically committed" to purchasing items before they realized they were not on sale, and in fact full price. The alleged damage is the amount "overpaid," that is, the difference between the full price and sale price, which in this case is alleged to exceed $10 million, reports the ABA Journal.

Take note, and give your company's sales flyers a once-over.

Disney's Alleged Age Discrimination

An ex-employee is suing Disney for age discrimination after he was let go from his position, and replaced by a younger woman. Kevin Brady worked in Disney's story department for 22 years, and was laid off because according to Disney, the company was not making as many films, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing reviewed Brady's complaint alleging age discrimination, and closed the case and issued a letter stating he could sue. Within days he filed a claim in L.A. Superior Court seeking a judgment and punitive damages for "emotional pain, distress and discomfort," says The Hollywood Reporter.

When your company decides to let people go -- make sure they are doing so for valid reasons, and create a paper trail for doing so.

Karl Lagerfeld's Alleged Trademark Infringement

The athletic wear company New Balance is suing Karl Lagerfeld for trademark infringement because of a sneaker that Karl Lagerfeld released that is eerily similar to a classic New Balance style, reports TMZ who broke the story. New Balance has protected its sneaker product design with a "two-pronged IP strategy" -- design patent protection (which expires in 14 years) and "trademark protection through a non-traditional product configuration application where the design has become source indicative, often due to an innovative marketing strategy emphasizing design in developing brand recognition," says DuetsBlog.

New Balance's two-pronged approach seems like a good option for fashion design-oriented companies seeking greater protection from knock-offs. Your company may want to try a similar approach.

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