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Revision as of 23:14, 10 January 2020

Template:Infobox person Trisha Paravas is a American fashion executive and entrepreneur based in New York City, United States. She is best known as the founder of Fashion Week Incorporated.[1][2] The company runs fashion shows that has various notable corporate sponsors such as Ritz-Carlton, JP Morgan Chase, and Dr. Pepper.[3]

Paravas currently holds an MBA degree in business and marketing.[4]


In late 2013, Paravas founded Fashion Week, Inc.[5] The company hosts bi-annual fashion shows that were at first called New York Fashion Shows, but were later renamed to New York Fashion Week.[6] The New York Fashion Week trademark was registered by Paravas in 2014.[7]

Paravas founded the company in New York to produce fashion shows for consumers after realizing the current state of New York fashion shows were invitation-only and designed for industry professionals and media. Trisha Paravas stated Fashion Week Inc. is in the business of “extending the exclusive runway show access to the consumers, building connections between fashion designers and clientele.”

Paravas' bi-yearly shows launched in December 2012 and were initially called "New York Fashion Shows." After her first few shows drew increasing interest, she decided it was time to rebrand. Trisha Paravas, a savvy business executive with an MBA in business and marketing realized she had a hit concept on her hands. However, she realized that she needed to change the name of her company and her branding. At the time, Paravas claims there was no trademark filed for "New York Fashion Week," so she filed for “New York Fashion Week” trademark, along with the abbreviation "NYFW” at United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).[8]

New York Fashion Week trademark

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc (CFDA) despite its actual use of the marks in commerce for decades as the official organizer of New York Fashion Week, which boasts a roster of over 450 American fashion and accessory designers, lacked registrations for the “New York Fashion Week” trademarks, and so, in March 2014, it filed to register the same mark for the “organization of fashion shows for commercial purposes, namely, scheduling and administration of fashion shows during two biannual periods.” CFDA also, filed an action with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) in January 2014 to cancel Fashion Week, Inc., trademarks.[8]

Beating the CFDA to the punch (even though trademark rights in the U.S. are granted on a first to use, not first to file, basis), Fashion Week, Inc.’s “New York Fashion Week” trademark was registered (on the Supplemental Register) in July 2014. As a result, the CFDA’s application for “New York Fashion Week” hit a roadblock in January 2015, when the USPTO held that its mark was too similar to Fashion Week, Inc.’s “New York Fashion Week” registered mark. The USPTO’s decision prompted the CFDA to initiate proceedings to invalidate Fashion Week, Inc.’s registration.[8][3]

In urging the USPTO to cancel Fashion Week, Inc.'s “New York Fashion Week” mark, the CFDA alleged that it and "its predecessors-in-interest" have established rights in and to the mark “New York Fashion Week” through their continuous use of the mark in commerce for decades, "at least since 1994, which is well prior to October 4, 2013, the first use in commerce date claimed by [Fashion Week, Inc.] for the New York Fashion Week registration." These dates are noteworthy because trademark priority – and rights – in the U.S. are based on actual use of a trademark and not registration of the mark.[8][3]

By the end of 2015, Trisha Paravas, fashion shows were turning a profit and drawing dozens of corporate sponsors including Ritz-Carlton, JP Morgan Chase and Dr. Pepper.[8][3]

Nonetheless, the CFDA was unsuccessful in its effort to have Fashion Week, Inc.’s “New York Fashion Week” trademark cancelled, with the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) dismissing its cancellation in February 2016, just over a year after it was filed. 1 2 As for whether this suggests that the CFDA will rely on “NYFW” to refer to the week-long fashion shows going forward, that may not be an option either, as Fashion Week, Inc. already has a federally registered trademark for “NYFW” in connection with “Entertainment in the nature of fashion shows; Organization of fashion shows for entertainment purposes.” As for the newer “New York Fashion Week The Shows” and "NYFW The Shows" names, it turns out the CFDA likely won’t have much luck there either, as Fashion Week, Inc. has filed trademark applications for these marks, as well.[8][3]

In May 2016, around the same time Mercedes-Benz dropped its name sponsorship of the fashion week organized by Endeavor, (formerly WME-IMG, IMG) and Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc., (CFDA). Subsequently IMG events were rebranded as "New York Fashion Week," which much of the industry had been informally calling it since the early 2000s.[8][3]

On or around July 2016 Trisha Paravas, filed for a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, a federal court in Manhattan asserting that the CFDA and WME-IMG's use of the NYFW name amounts to trademark infringement for $10 million dollars against Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG, IMG) and Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc., (CFDA). Trisha Paravas, says their conflicting mark and the resulting dispute has caused her to lose designers and sponsors. She's sued for trademark dilution, unfair competition and trademark infringement and is seeking punitive damages and a permanent injunction.

The fashion industry's most notable personalities came to Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc., (CFDA) rescue as American fashion industry was thunderstruck how it could lose its valuable trademarks to a new comer Trisha Paravas. Anna Wintour most powerful fashion personality and Editor-in- Chief to Vogue magazine and Artistic Director for Conde Nast, submitted her declaration at court in support for CFDA., among other notable testimonies included President of Saks Fifth Avenue, Inc. (“Saks”) Marc Metrick, Chief Operating Officer of Barneys, Daniella Vitale, Fern Mallis, Executive Director of Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc., (CFDA), Steven Kobe, CEO of Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc., (CFDA), Wen Zhou, Chief Executive Office of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Inc. Kim Hastreiter, Chief of Paper Magazine, Ruth Finley Fashion Calendar founder, among few who came to rescue in full force to defend Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc., (CFDA).[9]

Judge Koeltl denied Trisha Paravas's request for a preliminary injunction. However, noted that Fashion Week, Inc. does have rights in the New York Fashion Week trademark, those rights are “limited” to “online entertainment ticket agency sales.” On the other hand, the court held that the CFDA and WME-IMG enjoy rights in the mark for the “broad ambit of organizing and producing fashion shows.”

Trisha Paravas, dropped the complaint a few months later, after the court denied her request for a preliminary injunction. Yet, the court continued.

On or around February 2017, while New York-based brands were busy sending their Spring/Summer collections down the runway, there was something else underway behind the scenes: a fight over the rights for the New York Fashion Week name. The New York Fashion Week trademark dispute continued at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). By this time, Trisha Paravas applied for additional trademarks and acquired 6 other trademarks in multiple categories.

In March 2017, WME IMG filed for a trademark that consists of “the words ‘NEW YORK FASHION WEEK’ and ‘BACKSTAGE FAVORITE’. In response, on May 2019, Fashion Week, Inc. filed an opposition, asking the TTAB to shut down an application that WME IMG filed. Fashion Week, Inc. alleges that the proposed registration is too similar to its existing registration for “NYFW” for use on “Coats; Footwear; Hats; Headwear; Jackets and socks; Pants; Shirts; Shorts; Sweaters; and Sweatshirts.” Fashion Week, Inc. maintains rights in “family of NYFW and New York Fashion Week marks” and since “clothing and cosmetics are intricately linked, and most major brands have manufacturing or licensing programs that encompass both.”[10]

Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG, IMG), lead by Ari Emmanuel fought back, claiming that Trisha Paravas was trying to steal NYFW, a phrase it has been using for more than a decade in connection with high-profile fashion events.

Outside the company, hardened Hollywood insiders describe being dumbfounded by Ari Emanuel’s ferocity. One story that made the rounds and was confirmed by sources familiar with the matter: Emanuel, after a perceived slight during negotiations over the NBC drama “Medium,” created by his client Glenn Gordon Caron, called Mark Graboff, then co-chairman of NBC Entertainment, and threatened him personally with ruin. A spokesperson for Emanuel declined to comment.[11][12]

Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG, IMG), responded to Fashion Week, Inc.’s opposition, stating that “the term New York Fashion Week and its acronym, NYFW, have been associated with [IMG] … since at least 2001, long prior to [Fashion Week, Inc.’s] adoption or alleged use of the [NYFW] marks, and long before [Fashion Week, Inc.] filed any trademark applications for the [NYFW] marks for any goods or services.” As a result, IMG correctly asserts that it “has superior rights to [Fashion Week, Inc.] with respect to New York Fashion Week, NYFW, NYFW The Shows, and related marks.”[10]

But more than that, Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG, IMG), claims that Fashion Week, Inc. should not prevail because it is acting unethically in connection with its trademark activities. According to IMG, “Prior to filing trademark applications for the disputed marks, [Fashion Week, Inc.] had full knowledge of IMG’s prior rights in the famous New York Fashion Week and NYFW marks.”[10]

With that in mind, Fashion Week, Inc. “misrepresented [its] knowledge of IMG’s prior rights in the marks” and filed trademark applications in order to “extract a monetary payment from IMG in exchange for transfer of ownership of the resulting registrations.” This is something that Fashion Week, Inc.’s founder and CEO Trisha Paravas has since denied in a declaration filed with the Trade Mark and Appeal Board, alleging that counsel for IMG “threatened” and attempted to “coerce” her in furtherance of a settlement.[10]


However, this fight is far from over – and in fact, appears to only be heating up. In response, to that Trisha Paravas, according to a declaration filed on September 03, 2019 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), settlement talks stalled and Trisha Paravas felt like she was being bullied by a high-powered company into backing off.

In short, the right for rights in the NYFW name is still very much underway. CFDA and WME IMG do not have any legal rights to the prestigious New York Fashion Week trademarks.[10][4]

A growing controversy over the use of a widely-known phrase in the New York fashion industry is a perfect example of why you need to protect your trade names and marks immediately. What you can learn from the “New York Fashion Week” Trademark controversy is that first, just because you use a mark does not necessarily make it yours. Second, do not sit on your rights when it comes to competing for a trademark – because someone else may recognize the value of your trademark and take it out from under you. There are many lessons to learn from this cautionary tale.