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After several years and multiple appeals to the US Patent and Trademark Office, it seems that Virgil Abloh is going to have to give up his idea of registering his famous zip-ties. Refusals from the competent authority are repeated time and time again. Tough days for Virgil.
Trying to register a red plastic seal as a brand or corporate identity for your firm is at best naive. It’s like Evax trying to register the clouds because they’re on their pads. It’s unfounded.
Off White has been trying to include the famous red tags of its products as part of the brand’s identification elements since almost its inception. The refusal by the USPTO is based on the generic and functional nature of these tags. Even the color of the tags has not been accepted in the many occasions that they have been tried as a distinctive symbol of the firm.
The explanations given by the counsel of Virgil Abloh’s firm have been diverse. From arguing that the red tags are an adornment used to differentiate their garments, to using the excuse that the firm’s consumers leave the zip-tie as an identifying symbol when they use them.
Everything points to the fact that, just as with their attempt to register “Plastic Bag” as a trademark, this will also be rejected. This circumstance once again highlights the innocence of some great designers when it comes to protecting the elements that make them recognizable. Choosing objects so generic that they are not registrable as a trademark is a rookie mistake at this point in the film.
Virgil, you thought you were the “SMARTEST”guy out there.