Thou shalt not use the name of Chanel in vain, or so readers of fashion newspaper WWD learned on Monday. The fashion house took out a back-page ad reading:
"A note of information and entreaty to fashion editors, advertisers, copywriters and other well-intentioned mis-users of our Chanel name:
Chanel was a designer, an extraordinary woman who made a timeless contribution to fashion. Chanel is a perfume. Chanel is modern elegance in couture, ready-to-wear, accessories, watches and fine jewelry. Chanel is our registered trademark for fragrance, cosmetics, clothing, accessories and other lovely things. Although our style is justly famous, a jacket is not 'a Chanel jacket' unless it is ours, and somebody else's cardigans are not 'Chanel for now.' And even if we are flattered by such tributes to our fame as 'Chanel-issime, Chanel-ed, Chanels, and Chanel-ized', PLEASE DON'T. Our lawyers positively detest them. We take our trademark seriously.
Fashionista.com was curious to find out more about employing the 'C' word and contacted intellectual property attorney Anne Sterba, who explained that Chanel or any other trademarked label cannot be used as an adjective. Anne told the style site, Chanel is "policing their brand. They have to do it, because if they end up in court with a trademark issue and they can't prove to a judge that they've been trying to protect their brand, they will lose credibility."
A simple Google search reveals that Chanel was on the prowl for name-droppers as far back as 2004 (and probably before), telling a website named CHANELOVE.com to transfer the domain name to Chanel and "agree not to register any domain name(s) in the future that incorporate the word CHANEL, or any similar word." Chanel, of course, is very protective of its logo, as well, sending cease and desists to big brands like DC shoes and suing small boutiques for trademark infringement.