Lululemon Foils Knock-Offs By Patenting Bras, Tank Tops and Shorts


Lululemon’s ethos might be all about ~loving life~, but as we’ve learned, the way they run their brand is far more calculated. The company has patented 31 of their athletic clothing and gear designs and actively uses those patents to file lawsuits against competitors.

BuzzFeed reports that the most recent suit was against Hanesbrands over a tank top that Lululemon had patented. Hanesbrands actually countersued Lululemon because they said the style shouldn’t have been patented in the first place. The suit was settled under undisclosed terms, which also happened with previous lawsuit against Calvin Klein and G-III Apparel.

Patenting clothing designs has only recently become a more popular way for designers to protect themselves from those trying to make money on knock-offs of their clothing. But with their aggressive legal action, Lululemon could start to rival companies in the infamously trigger-happy tech world. That’s a system that hasn’t exactly encouraged an environment of creativity, but has instead endangered the success of companies with smaller coffers over arguably meaningless patents.

Some of the earlier Lululemon patents are specific, like one for a new, more supportive bra, a new yoga workout tool or a hood with a hole for a ponytail. Others are for things like yoga mats:

This tank top is the style Hanes and Lululemon were fighting over (it has a built-in bra):

Notably, these shorts have a zippered pocket on the ass:

The latest are these three bras, all of which just got patents:

Images via Lululemon/United States Patent Office

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