NEW YORK – Not long after JA Apparel’s print advertisement boasted that the best trademark lawyers wear Joseph Abboud, the company sued the designer in federal court in New York. The issue is Mr. Abboud’s use of his own name upon his re-entry into the fashion world with the impending launch of his new line of men’s clothing called Jaz.
In 2000, when designer Joseph Abboud sold the rights to his name for $65 million, he was still designing clothes under the brand. Mr. Abboud left the company after creative differences with the management, only to return four years later when J.W. Childs Associates bought the company. He left again under strained circumstances.
Abboud announcement of his return to designing menswear coincided with the expiration of the two-year non-compete clause he signed with JA Apparel.
“I own my publicity rights,” Abboud said in a phone interview today. “My goal is to build a new brand. I’m the designer behind the brand, and the public has a right to know that.” Abboud’s new line, Jaz, is set to launch in the Fall of 2008. “I love the name,” he said referring to Jaz. “It’s very American in spirit.”
Abboud said he is prepared to defend his rights, but added somewhat sadly, “It’s negative energy for everyone.”
JA Apparel had the following statement: “This lawsuit demonstrates our unwavering commitment to protecting the Joseph Abboud trademark in order to prevent any confusion in the marketplace. JA Apparel Corp. owns all legal rights to the valuable Joseph Abboud brand name and we have consistently said that we will require Mr. Abboud to comply with all the terms and conditions of the agreements he signed and for which he received abundant consideration of $65.5 million.”
MR reported on Joseph Abboud’s return to fashion a month ago here.