The legal battle between Poshmark seller Jade Myers and fashion designer/influencer Danielle Bernstein highlights intellectual property challenges cropping up between brands and online resellers/thrift shops. As reported by The Verge, takedown notices are threatening these online entrepreneurs as this type of business is experiencing a boom.
The Poshmark Seller VS. The Fashion Designer/Influencer
The incident between Jade Myers and Danielle Bernstein started out as a simple blunder and it quickly escalated into intellectual property claims. Meyers, the Poshmark seller, purchased some of the unreleased swimwear pieces from Bernstein’s WeWoreThat collection after it was wrongly donated.
When Meyers put the swimwear on Poshmark, people noticed it and notified Bernstein. The two were cordial and had come to an understanding about payment. But a few DMs later on Instagram, they were no longer on the same page. And the misunderstanding escalated to threats being made to remove Myers’ Poshmark store.
Poshmark got involved by warning Myers about its trademark and copyright infringement policy. In the end, both ladies came to an amicable understanding without any lawsuits.
Online Thrift Stores and Takedown Notices
This particular issue is news now because the secondhand market is expected to grow 11 times faster than the broader retail clothing sector by 2025 in the U.S. And according to GlobalData, the market value is set to double to $76.4 billion by the same time. With that in mind, brands are starting to protect their intellectual property as more online resellers pop up.
Not only that, but major brands are also expanding to the used clothes space to capitalize on this trend. Levi’s, Nike, Ralph Lauren, The North Face, Urban Outfitters, and others have launched their own in-house vintage clothing. Some even have a second-hand section in their stores. With so much money at stake, brands are enforcing their intellectual property rights.
This push to protect their property is also being driven by counterfeit products in the marketplace. Brands don’t want resellers online to sell counterfeit items, and this is also in part responsible for the pushback.
Small Businesses and Takedown Orders
A thrift shop in the physical world is a business with little fuss. You buy used and vintage items and sell them. In the online world, the reach a thrift/vintage shop has is global, and not surprisingly it gets the attention of the brands that are being sold.
If a small business doesn’t fully comply with copyright/intellectual property laws, the original creator can take legal measures. And in most cases, it is a simple takedown order asking the seller to remove the item. But if a small business is continuously dealing with these orders, their business can suffer greatly, with some moving back to brick-and-mortar operations to avoid the hassle.
As Mia Sato, who wrote the report on The Verge said, “Online vintage and secondhand sellers describe a delicate dance they must do in order to stay in business — and that even when they follow the rules, their shops are at the mercy of the platform-specific policies and the rights holders.”
The IP infringement is being enforced on many sites including Instagram, Etsy, eBay, Poshmark, Shopify, and others. And with billions of dollars on the line, the enforcement will likely get stricter.
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