As New Jersey residents gear up for Halloween, they may head to local stores to purchase costumes. Halloween costumes are big business, and because of the money involved, they may be the subject of intellectual property lawsuits.
According to news sources, Rasta Imposta, a costume company, recently filed a lawsuit against Kmart for allegedly infringing on the company's banana costume design. Rasta Imposta and Kmart had engaged in business together for almost 10 years before the lawsuit was filed. Kmart and Rasta Imposta failed to come to an agreement about the costumes this year, so Kmart chose to go with a different vendor.
Rasta Imposta alleges that Kmart's new banana costumes are too similar to the ones that the company makes. The company began selling the banana suits in 2001 and obtained a copyright in 2010. Rasta Imposta claims that Kmart's new banana costume has similar black tips, cutouts for the face, arms and legs and an identical strip down the front. Rasta Imposta licenses its design out and claims that the banana suit is one of its primary costumes.
When businesses have copyrights that are infringed by others, they may suffer financial harm. Experienced intellectual property law attorneys may try to enforce their clients' rights by engaging in intellectual property litigation. By filing lawsuits against the infringing parties, the attorneys may win injunctions against them prohibiting them from the further use of the copyrighted materials or designs. They may also recover monetary damages on their clients' behalf so that they can recoup the money that they have lost because of the infringement of their intellectual property. Attorneys may also represent businesses that are accused of infringement when the designs or products that they offer do not truly infringe on those of others.
Source: Bloomberg, "The Halloween costume copyright wars are going bananas," Polly Mosendz, Sept. 28, 2017.