DARLINGTON – A fashion house in the North East of England has won a court case against Spanish fashion giant Zara which threatened it with legal action over its name. Amber Kotrri decided to defend her business, House of Zana, after Zara objected to her trademark application, claiming customers would confuse the two.
Mrs Kotrri argued there was no similarity to Zara brand name and the dispute was heard at a tribunal after she refused a written request from Zara to change her branding in 2021.
In documents submitted to court, Zara claimed there was a risk “consumers will misread, mishear, mispronounce and/or otherwise perceive House of Zana as Zara” and that the brand name “dilutes the distinctiveness and reputation the Zara brand”.
The company also claimed there are distinctive visual and oral similarities between the two brands, and it was claimed shoppers would assume the House of Zana was part of the global chain.
If she had lost the case, Ms Kotrri faced paying significant legal costs in a case which has seen her receive support from around the world.
In a post on social media, she said: “We did it!!! Thank you to everyone for all your support. All the kind words of strength, those who signed our petition, shared the news and to all the news outlets who covered this story.
“You all gave me the courage needed to take on fashion giants zara and I will be forever grateful for you all.”
Charlotte Duly head of brand protection at law firm, Charles Russel Speechlys said: “In this battle of David and Goliath, the little guy has come out on top.
“Zara has failed to protect its valuable trade mark rights and House of Zana is now permitted to register its current name. This is a huge win for House of Zana given the personal connection linked to a name, and the feeling of being bullied by a larger entity.
“Zara may now let the matter rest and decide not to challenge their use, which would need to be by way of infringement proceedings. However, Zara can also appeal the decision.
“Time will tell as to whether they take any further steps or if the Hearing Officer’s decision gives them enough comfort to coexist.”