The creators of the popular “Banane Taipei” canvas tote bag were indicted by prosecutors yesterday for infringing on the trademark of French luxury goods brand Hermes.
The accused were Yuan Ju-chi (苑汝琦) and Chu Yun-kuang (朱韻光), owners of Banana International, which produces and sells the bag.
Images imprinted on the bag were alleged to be copied from the renowned Hermes Birkin bag, while the “Banane Taipei” logo also allegedly imitates Hermes’ horse-and-carriage logo.
According to an investigation by prosecutors, the Intellectual Property Office turned down an application by Yuan’s wife, surnamed Tsai, to register the “Banane Taipei” bag design as her intellectual property, on the grounds that its logo was too similar to that of Hermes. Tsai’s appeal was also rejected by an appeals committee under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the investigation showed.
The bag, which sells for NT$1,500, has developed a huge fan base since its launch last year. That Taiwanese star Barbie Hsu (徐熙媛, aka Big S) gave away the bag as a gift to guests at her wedding in March, which also helped boost its popularity.
Hermes filed a complaint with police in June last year, accusing Banana International of violating its trademark and copyrights.
Prosecutors investigation into the alleged copyright violation is ongoing.