You know what we haven’t seen much lately? Patent lawsuits that are hot — to use Paris Hilton’s favorite phrase. Well, Hilton, herself, may end up getting involved in this lawsuit pointed out by Eriq Gardner over at THREsq. Apparently a company called Celebrity Signatures Int’l went out and patented (7,735,495) a way of making hair extensions, and has built a business selling hair extensions of the rich and famous. I’m not kidding. If you want your hair to look like Raquel Welch or Jessica Simpson, that’s the place to go apparently — and, that’s the only place they want you to go because (remember) they’ve got the patent.
So, when another firm came along, named HairTech Int’l, and started selling hair extensions to make your hair look like Paris Hilton’s, Celebrity Signatures got angry and threatened to sue. After being told that HairTech was no longer making the product, it backed off, but upon learning that the Paris Hilton extensions were back on the market, it called up the patent attorneys and filed a lawsuit.
Beyond just straight patent infringement, the company is also jumping on the patent marking bandwagon, and claiming that HairTech is falsely claiming that its product is “patent pending,” when that’s not true. Of course, it could be that HairTech has applied for its own (equally ridiculous) patent on celebrity hair extensions, and the application just hasn’t been published yet, so it’s not clear how Celebrity Signatures knows for certain that there’s no patent application here.
Either way, the whole thing seems a bit silly. And, as Gardner notes towards the end of his writeup, it seems like there may also be some potential publicity or “misappropriation of likeness” claims that could get Hilton involved. She has apparently licensed the right to sell such hair extensions to HairTech, so even if Celebrity Signatures prevails, it’s not like it can easily go out and sell Paris Hilton hair extensions. Though, frankly, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. Either way, as Gardner jokingly points out, both companies product lines are built off of “knocking off” celebrities, so perhaps they shouldn’t be so quick for someone else supposedly “knocking off” their own “knock off” designs.
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