There is a new Kickstarter campaign by Y Athletics that was funded back in December to create ‘SilverAir Odorless Athletic Shirts’ for men, strikingly similar to Lululemon Silverscent Metal Vent Tech Tees. The designs are similar, the technology is the same and the asthetics are the same. Y Athletics has released this statement I’ve copied below to all its backers since they are now unable to complete their orders due to Lululemon having their mutual manufacturer Tefron Ltd. hold back their product delivery.
Lululemon has exclusivity rights with Noble Biomaterials Inc. and their X-Static Antimicrobial Technology fabric (silverscent) (here is the press release from September 2013 for the Strategic Global Aliance Partnership). I would think, unfortunately, that Y Athletics was incorrectly informed by Tefron Ltd (the manufacturer) that they had the ability to fulfill a contract with Y Athletics without breaching their contract with Luluelmon. Unless Y Athletics purchased the material prior to Lululemon entering into the partnership with Noble Biomaterials, and if so, is there a retroactive effect with prior orders for the material? Is there a breach in contract between Noble Biomaterials and Tefron, or Tefron and Lululemon? Do those contracts have privacy clauses which prohibit Tefron Ltd. from sharing those details with competing brands?
Before this partnership with Noble Biomaterials Inc., Lululemon did not own any exclusivity to any of the materials they use from Luon, to Vitasea to Tencil. What they owned was the trademark name and those items can be copied by any competing brand at any price point, they just can’t market them under the same names. It was a brilliant and necessary move for Lululemon to enter into this partnership and if they can get more of these fabric technologies exclusively they will beat back the competition and strengthen their brand.