STYLE
01/10/2011 10:39 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

'Kate Middleton Brand' Now Controlled By Royal Family

Kate Middleton's Issa engagement announcement dress created a total fashion craze -- selling out online in hours and getting knocked off for $25 at Tesco -- and her engagement photo dress by Reiss didn't sell too badly either, but retailers have been warned to watch themselves around the "Kate Middleton brand," the Daily Mail reports. Suggesting that Kate has endorsed any product could result in stores being sued for tens of thousands of pounds, since her name is now controlled by the royal family.

A royal aide explained to the Mail:

"(It is) highly unlikely that we would have any objection if a company wanted to call a dress "the Kate dress." "Kate" isn't specific to Catherine Middleton. It may, however, be a different scenario if it was called the 'Catherine/Kate Middleton' dress as that impacts... on personal copyright. Or indeed if a company was suggesting a dress was officially endorsed by Catherine."

And trademark lawyer Eric Ramage remarked:

"If Kate Middleton could prove that the purchasing public assumed she had endorsed the dress... the firm could pay costs and damages in the region of tens of thousands of pounds in court. She is going to have a darn sight more money behind her than a high street dressmaker. But she would probably -- I hate to say it -- just lean on them. The thought of being tied up in litigation for a long time is probably sufficient (deterrent)."

So, High Street stores, beware!

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