Steve Madden has been hit with yet another intellectual property lawsuit — this time by British designer Stella McCartney. On Tuesday, the 44-year-old designer filed a complaint against Steve Madden with the Southern district of New York accusing the lower-priced brand of knocking off one of her most "well-known and enormously popular" handbag styles. Lawyers are seeking an injunction to discontinue sales of Steve Madden's knockoff product and "an accounting of Defendant’s profits." The products in question: Stella McCartney's Falabella Foldover tote bag in black ($1,195) and Steve Madden's BTotally handbag ($108), pictured below.
According to court documents, Steve Madden began selling a "poorly-made," but "virtually identical" knockoff bag that will likely "cause economic harm to consumers, given its shoddy quality." The documents point out several poor reviews of the BTotally bag from Steve Madden's website, as evidence that the knockoff will likely damage Stella McCartney's reputation and result in a loss of sales as a result of confusion. The documents also point out similarities between the two designs, including fabric inserts at the chain handles, the use of whip-stitching and the continuous chain extending to form handles.
Since it was released in 2009, Stella McCartney's high-end vegan bag has been popular amongst celebrities, including Anne Hathaway, Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham. The Falabella collection includes a wide variety of shapes and styles that, according to the documents, have racked in "tens of millions of dollars" since their launch.
This isn't the first time that Steve Madden has been hit with a lawsuit by a luxury brand. Back in 2009, Balenciaga sued the footwear company for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition in regards to its lego shoes. Madden even once told us he was surprised that he hadn't gotten sued more, so this shouldn't come as much of a shock.