Do you smell that, Balenciaga? It’s an infringement lawsuit.
According to legal documents obtained by TMZ, the Spanish fashion house is being sued over a new accessory it began selling at its NYC store last month. The piece in question is a leather keychain shaped like an evergreen. Check it out below.
Look familiar? Well, The Car-Freshner Corporation thinks so, too.
TMZ reports that the company is suing Balenciaga for using their iconic Little Trees design without permission. Documents reveal Car-Fresnher secured a trademark for the odor-fighters back in 1952.
The plaintiff claims that their tree-shaped products are so popular that many other companies such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Kia Motors, and Capital One have taken the proper steps to license them—steps that Balenciaga allegedly failed to take.
Car-Freshner argues that the keychain design will confuse consumers, despite the $270 price difference. The plaintiff is now seeking all the profits from the keychain sales.
Balenciaga has yet to publicly respond to the lawsuit.
The label’s creative director Demna Gvasalia is known for his subversive take on luxury fashion, as he consistently injects high culture with the commonplace styles and items. Gvasalia has presented expensive iterations of the Ikea shopping bag, Croc footwear, tacky tourist merch, and more.
Gvasalia spoke about his distinct design approach in a 2017 interview with the Business of Fashion.
“Irony is both about making you smile or laugh, but it can also be quite painful because it asks questions. With irony you can ask questions that are delicate, but there’s a thin line between irony and sarcasm so I have to be careful not to overstep it,” he said, before mentioning his take on the Ikea FRAKTA bag. “I meant it as an ironic gesture in part, taking something really cheap and moving it into the luxury realm. But it’s authentic too, and that’s why it’s been all over the internet by now. People can relate.”