« Knockoff News 36 | Main | Who's the Most L.A. of All? »

Humor from Hermès

At the French luxury goods company Hermes, counterfeits are no laughing matter.  Knockoffs of its iconic Birkin and Kelly bags are the stock in trade of both street vendors around the world and certain Upper East Side boutiques, despite the company's efforts to enforce its trademark and trade dress rights.  Ever wonder what happened to the "Jelly Kelly," the rubbery, translucent knockoff of the Birkin that appeared on fashionable shoulders from Milan to Southampton a few summers ago?  Ask the company's intelligent and efficient outside counsel, Joe Gioconda, who stemmed the tide.

Hermes Birkin with Jelly Kelly knockoff

Yesterday in Venice, however, Hermes CEO Patrick Thomas was in a lighter mood.  "Well, now you can say Hermes financed the restoration of a copy," he said, referring to the replicas of the city's four bronze horses usually stabled atop the Basilica di San Marco.  The originals were moved inside in 1982 to avoid further damage from pollution, but apparently even copies need a facelift now and then. 

New Hermes boutique in Venice