Hat Designer Sues Over Knock-Off Inaugural Hat

The hat that rocked the world: singer Aretha Franklin wearing Luke Song’s design at President Obama’s inauguration

The hat that rocked the world: singer Aretha Franklin wearing Luke Song’s design at President Obama’s inauguration

Detroit–A Detroit hat designer wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. He is suing other hat companies that he says knocked off his designs, including the style Aretha Franklin wore to President Obama’s inauguration.

Luke Song, whose company Moza Inc. does business under the Mr. Song Millinery brand, filed a federal lawsuit in Detroit this month alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition and breach of warranty.

Named as defendants are hat companies: DonnaVinci of Los Angeles, S&S Hat Co. Inc. of Philadelphia, and King Ting Millinery Co., Ltd., a Chinese company that provides raw materials for hats. Song is asking the court for more than $100,000 in unspecified damages. The defendants have not filed answers to the complaint, filed May 7.

“Because of Luke Song’s and the Inaugural Hat’s acquired fame and notoriety in January 2009, the defendants … began, and have continued to, manufacture and/or sell virtually identical versions of plaintiff’s Inaugural Hat and/or other designs,” the lawsuit alleges.

Song says the inaugural hat worn by the “Queen of Soul” was so iconic that the actual hat Franklin wore has been donated to the Smithsonian Institution and may later be included in the future Obama presidential library. An exact replica of the hat for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Aretha Franklin exhibit, the lawsuit states.

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