Can You Patent a Tank Top?

As detailed in this BuzzFeed piece, Lululemon has patented 31 items in its line of insidious business-casual yoga gear, and is currently taking Hanes/Champion/Target to task for a tank top: Hanes, asserting that the design patent shouldn’t have been issued to begin with, is filing suit. Here’s a snippet from Lululemon’s cease-and-desist letter.


I know absolutely nothing about patents that I didn’t learn from Shark Tank, and I am admittedly deeply biased against Lululemon on the grounds that their fearful-in-the-guise-of-flattering, show-off-your-collarbones-but-shield-that-tummy aesthetic is offensive to the objective truth that everything would be easier if we just let a woman live for one second — but to me it doesn’t seem sensible in any way for the fashion industry to start filing design patents on fairly basic articles of clothing. [BuzzFeed]