Updated. When you’re a company that’s grown as quickly as Fab.com, the design-oriented flash sales site which is on track to make more than $100 million in revenue this year and recently closed on $105 million in funding at a rumored $600 million valuation, it’s pretty much a given that some people might look to emulate your path to success. But according to Fab, one startup may be taking the imitation a bit too far.
On August 9th, Fab filed a lawsuit against a San Francisco company called Whitehawk Ventures, which does business as TouchofModern.com, a design-oriented flash sales site that debuted earlier this year (click here to read TechCrunch’s coverage of that launch.)
The 25-page lawsuit, which TechCrunch has obtained and embedded below, alleges that Whitehawk is infringing Fab’s trademarks, trade dress, and copyrights. Fab also alleges that Whitehawk has engaged in unfair competition by allegedly copying key elements of its site design, including its overall look and feel, visual icons, and lifting exact copy.
I reached out to Fab’s CEO Jason Goldberg, who confirmed that Fab has indeed filed suit and provided the following comment about the situation:
Like the people who create the products we sell, we’re designers. We build all of our own technology, and we take pride in the unique design of our website and mobile apps. We have gathered a significant amount of evidence to support our lawsuit, and the copycat claim against Touch of Modern is very strong. We are hopeful that this matter will be resolved quickly. In the meantime, we will continue to focus on bringing everyday design to Fab’s 6 million-plus members.
We have also contacted TouchOfModern founder Jonathan Wu for comment, and will update this if we receive any word back. UPDATE: TouchOfModern has responded with the following statement:
“We are aware of the lawsuit brought against us by Fab.com. We believe the allegations are baseless and we fully intend to defend ourselves.
The claims in the lawsuit are unsupported and lack any substance. All of our design elements utilize open source frameworks and are developed in-house.
Our vendors have consistently told us that they prefer working with us over Fab.com. And the $100M+ that Fab.com has raised allows them to engage in such bullying tactics to stifle competition.
While we’re only a fraction of Fab.com’s size, TouchOfModern appeals to a higher end audience and we strive to offer not only beautifully designed modern products, but products that are high in quality and worthy of distinction.”
Here are images that Fab included in its legal complaint that show the two sites side-by-side (click to enlarge):
And here is the lawsuit in full:
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