Virgil Abloh’s “Trademark”

Virgil Abloh, the creative director of Off-White and one of the biggest designers in the fashion industry at the moment, may have some important legal decisions to make soon.

Abloh has been using quotation marks around everything, and we mean everything. Whether it’s a design feature on a shoe, a store name, or just different objects on his Instagram story, the quotation marks have become his new go-to, and everyone is noticing it.

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So, the question becomes: Can Abloh’s use of quotation marks be legally protected? It is possible that trademark law may be able to help him in this respect.

According to The Fashion Law, trademark law is based on whether or not there is a “likelihood of confusion” between the proposed trademark and another mark already registered or in a prior pending trademark application owned by someone else.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has a public database on which anyone can search marks that are either registered or pending registration. Unfortunately for Abloh, quotation marks have been used as a signifier in the past by other brands, based on a search of USPTO.

Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see whether Abloh actually pursues legal protection, or whether he sees this as just a fad.

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