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Playboy, Fashion Nova Hammer Out ‘Bunny Costume’ Settlement

Playboy and Fashion Nova have settled a year-old trademark dispute over the former’s bunny costumes.

The two parties filed a notice Thursday alerting the court that they had reached a negotiated settlement. A judge dismissed the case the next day. The exact details of the agreement are unknown. An out-of-stock bunny costume consisting of a bodysuit, ears, collar with bow tie and cuffs can still be found on Fashion Nova’s website.

Playboy Enterprises International filed its original complaint in October last year. The suit alleged Fashion Nova “prominently featured” “blatant copies” of Playboy’s bunny costume throughout the peak of the Halloween season. It further claimed that Fashion Nova’s use of the description “Bunny of the Month” to sell the products represented “a clear and unauthorized reference” to its “Playmate of the Month” trademark.

Playboy's initial lawsuit included a side-by-side comparison of its bunny suit (left) and Fashion Nova's (right).
Playboy’s initial lawsuit included a side-by-side comparison of its bunny suit (left) and Fashion Nova’s (right). Playboy

In its April response, Fashion Nova dubbed Playboy’s lawsuit a “sham and an abuse of the legal system.” It argued the company had “twice abandoned whatever rights it purports to invoke” when it allowed the cancellation of two trademarks protecting its bunny costume’s use in clothing. The second of these trademarks expired in September 2020, less than two months before Playboy sued Fashion Nova. Though Playboy’s complaint pointed to numerous live trademarks it owns for its bunny costume, none of these marks list apparel as a covered good or service.

The fast-fashion retailer further argued that Playboy had failed to “diligently police” its marks and had allowed them to become generic, thus losing their legal protection as trademarks.

The settlement arrives months after Playboy’s $333 million acquisition of racy lingerie brand Honey Birdette. Its parent company, PLBY Group, said the deal will support its focus on “expanding its leadership in the sexual wellness category and enhance its shared sourcing and product design capabilities” for Playboy’s own intimates line. At the time, PLBY Group CEO Ben Kohn said he believed Honey Birdette holds the “potential to become a multi-billion-dollar luxury lifestyle franchise.”

Playboy’s expansion into apparel has seen the company team up with several brands and retailers in recent years, including heritage military outerwear brand Alpha Industries and PacSun. Last month, it restocked a popular, Bella Hadid-approved collaboration with the Danish brand Soulland.