Alice + Olivia CEO Stacey Bendet is in legal hot water after launching her new job app for creatives, Creatively.
Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, CEO and founder of the platform SohoMuse, has sent Bendet and her company a cease and desist, obtained by Page Six, claiming she launched a “copycat version” of her app.
“Indeed, many of Creatively’s promotional statements parrot language that SohoMuse has used on its website and in its promotional decks for years,” the legal document reads. “All the press surrounding the launch of Creatively, as well as your trademark application, makes clear that all you have done is taken SohoMuse and ‘rebranded’ it.”
Costin is prepared to file a lawsuit if Bendet and Creatively do not either cease and desist entirely or remove “all infringing content” from the platform and its promotional materials.
Launched in 2017, SohoMuse is a social network for creatives where they can find jobs, showcase their work and more. An insider claims that in 2019, the SohoMuse team reached out to Bendet to join its community, thinking she would be a great fit alongside designers such as Nicole Miller and Malan Breton.
Bendet didn’t end up joining SohoMuse but then launched Creatively in May 2020, which “she claims she thought of one year ago,” our insider says.
In a side-by-side comparison document, also obtained by Page Six, SohoMuse compares and contrasts various statements and claims made by Creatively, including its description in the App Store.
“Creatively’s App Store Preview: ‘Designed by creatives and for creatives,” the document reads, to which SohoMuse responded, “SohoMuse has long stated that it was ‘built by creatives for creatives.’”
The document also cites an article on Mashable that states Creatively was built “for designers, illustrators, and photographers, LinkedIn just doesn’t cut it.”
“In November 2017, SohoMuse was described as a ‘LinkedIn for creative people in industries including fashion and film,’” the document asserts.
“This is nothing more than a publicity stunt,” a Creatively spokesperson told Page Six in a statement. “Ms. Costin is seeking to capitalize on Creatively’s successful launch and overwhelmingly positive reception by the creative community by leaking a meritless cease and desist letter to the press. Creatively had never even heard of SohoMuse or Ms. Costin prior to getting her attorney’s letter, and as far as we can tell (we’ve never actually seen her site, since SohoMuse is subscription-based and invitation-only, in contrast to Creatively’s open model), the two platforms are wildly different in approach, accessibility and style.
“Meanwhile, Creatively is making connections between creatives and employers at a time of unprecedented unemployment. Shame on her for this selfish act.”
Costin, however, says she’s open to competing businesses, as long as they’re not the same.
“We’ve certainly seen a handful of competitors enter the market since we launched our SohoMuse beta in 2017, and we’re not opposed to healthy competition by any means,” Costin told Page Six via email on Friday.
“Upon reading the various press articles and comments made by the founders of Creatively, we were utterly shocked by the striking similarities in the verbiage they use to promote their website and the list of features and functionality they claim to offer …”
“The fact that they claim to be the first and state that no other site is doing what they’re doing, when we’ve been doing exactly that (and much more) for several years now,” she continued, “is either willfully deceptive or they simply didn’t do their market research.”
SohoMuse is demanding Creatively adhere to its requests by Friday, May 22.
Source: Read Full Article