Phillip Plein's long-running legal battle with Ferrari has finally handed him his first L. A three-judge panel ruled in favor of the Italian car manufacturer this week and found that the German fashion designer's use of a Ferrari in his SS18 runway show was in violation of the company's trademarks. As a result, Plein has been ordered to pay Ferrari approximately $355,000 as well as cover its legal fees.
The decision, which was made by a court in Milan, Italy, also means that Plein's namesake fashion brand has to remove all images that feature a Ferrari from its website, social media, and additional platform. If the brand refuses, it'll have to pay a sum of $12,000 for each use. The news was first reported by the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, per Women's Wear Daily.
Another case is still ongoing — The Milanese court's decision wraps up the first lawsuit Ferrari filed against Philipp Plein, although a second suit is still unresolved. Ferrari has also taken issue with images Plein has posted to his own Instagram account pairing his dreadful sneakers with the Italian sportscars.
The cease-and-desist letter initially sent to Plein essentially roasted his brand in legal speak, saying his posts align Ferrari "with a lifestyle [that is] totally inconsistent with [its] brand perception." By placing his over-the-top sneakers on top of its car, Ferrari argues, Plein "tarnishes the reputation of Ferrari’s brands and causes Ferrari material damage."
Plein refused to remove the offending posts, and a court has since ruled that this usage of Ferrari's trademarks was also illegal. The court rejected Plein's claims that his posts were not commercial in nature but just a reflection of his lavish lifestyle, according to The Fashion Law. It ruled that "the use of third-parties’ trademarks by an influencer is considered lawful only when such use is authorized by the owner of the distinctive trademark, or when the images are descriptive of life scenes of the influencer or of third persons."
Still unsettled is the amount of money Plein will be on the hook for in regards to this infraction. In a letter posted to Instagram, Plein claimed Ferrari was seeking €2 million in damages. He then went on to urge Ferrari to let him donate €200,000 (~$226,000) to Black Lives Matter instead, an outrageously gross attempt to use racist police brutality and the subsequent protests against it to dodge his own legal issues.
Maybe karma is real — In unrelated news, unless you believe in cosmic justice, Philipp Plein recently shut down its Milan headquarters and let go of three top executives because of the coronavirus. We can only hope that the second Ferrari suit deals a death blow to one of fashion's most tasteless brands and its insufferable designer.