Costume company Rasta Imposta is suing Kmart after the department store switched to another company’s banana suit costume this year.
Rasta’s claiming the imposta’s design infringes on their copyright — and we’re no experts on costume law, but this claim seems a little rotten.
Apparently, Rasta Imposta likes to sue
According to Bloomberg, there have been 2 other cases where a company sued others for selling similar banana costumes — both of which were settled, which means no one knows how this claim will hold up in court.
But there’s a chance Rasta Imposta gets what they want, due to a recent supreme court ruling in favor of Varsity brands’ lawsuit against Star Athletica, regarding the likeness of their cheerleading uniforms.
What do the experts have to say?
Not much. According to Cornell legal scholar James Grimmelmann, there is still a lot of gray area when it comes to laws involving clothing.
While companies like Saban Capital are successfully suing the pants off of anyone who thinks to knockoff their Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers costumes, claims over banana-likeness is a little harder to pinpoint.
“There is no originality in bananas because bananas grow on trees. A banana’s yellow color, tapered shape, or black ends can’t be copyrighted because that’s what bananas look like in nature,” Grimmelmann explained.
In other words, not a lot of ways to get creative when jumping into the world of banana suit costumes. A word of advice, if you are looking for an affordable suit, there is better options out there.
This may open up a can of worms
Unfortunately for the costume industry, Grimmelman fears this Rasta Imposta lawsuitcould be the first in a wave of copyright lawsuits over fairly generic Halloween costume designs — and the fashion industry in general.
In other words, hide your knockoff vampire capes, department stores, because companies like Rasta are out for blood.