Taipei, Taiwan—First lady Michelle Obama’s selection of a second Jason Wu-designed gown for this week’s inauguration balls may have assured the designer a place in the annals of history—not to mention the Smithsonian where the gown will be displayed—but such notoriety might even help with some legal issues.
On the same day FLOTUS wore the ruby dress for all the world to see, Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Court refused—for a second time—to grant trademark status to Wu’s diffusion label, Miss Wu.
While Wu, 30, who emigrated from Taiwan to Canada at age 9, has successfully registered his Miss Wu brand in the United States and many EU countries, the Taiwanese court rejected Miss Wu as being too generic. It seems that “Wu” is a fairly common family name in Taiwan and “Miss Wu is just a title and cannot be exclusively associated with Jason Wu.”
The designer applied for the trademarks in 2011 for his haute couture and accessories lines, which the court approved.
‘Miss Wu’ to Get Some Respect?
Arguing that “Miss Wu” symbolizes feminism—characteristic of his designs, Wu had also said it sounded the hoot of an owl, the bird depicted on its logo.
The Miss Wu brand, which is carried at Nordstrom, has a more “downtown” aesthetic with the 40-piece Spring/Summer 2013 collection retailing between about $195 to $795.
But the clamor surrounding Obama’s pick of a Jason Wu gown for a second momentous occasion may help clinch the trademark for Wu in Taiwan.
Speaking to Focus Taiwan, Wang Mei-hua, director-general of the Intellectual Property office reportedly said if first ladies Michelle Obama and Taiwan’s Chow Mei-ching are seen wearing dresses from the Miss Wu brand, it may help distinguish Miss Wu from being too generic.
“Approval is likely if he tries again this year with more evidence showing that Miss Wu has been accepted as a brand by local consumers,” Wang Mei-hua said.