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The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and Clinique Laboratories Inc. have filed a lawsuit against Preferred Fragrance Inc. alleging trademark infringement in connection with alleged knockoffs of Lauder-branded fragrances.
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court on June 11, also alleges unfair competition, false advertising and dilution. Other named defendants include Preferred’s owner, Izriel Polatsek, also known as Ezriel Polatsek; CVS Inc.; CVS Pharmacy Inc. and CVS Caremark Corp.; Family Dollar Stores Inc., and John Does 1-10.
The lawsuit said that Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Preferred is a “known infringer that previously has copied — and previously has been sued for its copying of — famous perfume brands.” It said the Brooklyn firm appropriated Lauder’s marks for its own use for its line of knockoff products that it has begun selling or soon will sell for the holiday 2008 season in stores such as CVS and Family Dollar. The lawsuit charged that Preferred trades on the “investment” of others as it copies the scents of famous designer fragrances. An example is Obsession, which Preferred allegedly called Fascination in its knockoff scent. Another is White Diamonds, which was called Round Diamonds, the lawsuit charged.
Impression of Beautiful by Estée Lauder, Impression of Pleasures by Estée Lauder, Impression of Happy by Clinique and Impression of Cashmere Mist by Donna Karan are among the Lauder products that allegedly were knocked off by Preferred, the lawsuit said.
Lauder said it was concerned consumers are likely to believe that, due to the defendants’ conduct, the knocked-off products are associated with it instead of Preferred.
Lauder also said sales of its Beautiful line are in excess of $400 million in the U.S., while those of its Pleasures line are over $300 million at retail in the U.S., with Beautiful the number-one selling prestige fragrance in America and Pleasures ranking number two. In addition, the company said it has spent tens of millions of dollars to advertise and promote its brands. It is also is the exclusive licensee of the Donna Karan and Donna Karan Cashmere Mist fragrance line and is the owner of the Clinique and Clinique Happy marks, the lawsuit said.
Lauder is seeking injunctive relief, an accounting of sales and profits, damages and attorneys’ fees.
This story first appeared in the June 18, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A Lauder spokeswoman said the company will “vigorously pursue” the litigation. Neither Polatsek nor officials at Preferred could be reached for comment by press time.
— Vicki M. Young
MAC Fund Develops HIV Training Initiative
John Demsey, chairman of the MAC AIDS Fund and a group president of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., was scheduled to meet in Johannesburg today to discuss the progress of an innovative new HIV prevention program.
The MAC AIDS Fund contributed $1.3 million in partnership with Columbia University and UCLA to pioneer a community-based start-up program that trains local residents — activists, educators, nurses and others — in prevention, testing and care techniques. As part of the MAC AIDS Fund International Leadership Initiative, 12 South Africans went through a two-month program that ended in April and the graduates, or Fellows, returned home to begin training others at the grassroots level in the community, including primary school parents and juvenile offenders in prison. The activities will be spread across the country.
Interviews are now being conducted to raise a second cohort of trainees to attend school in the fall, according to a MAC spokeswoman.
In the past, fund-raising organizations have financed global bodies like UNICEF or World Vision that, in turn, finance local groups, Demsey said in a brief interview Monday. “We are not only funding a program, but we are developing it,” he said, adding, “We’ve morphed from being a supporting organization into a developing organization.”
Through the sales of its Viva Glam lipstick franchise, the MAC AIDS Fund has raised and given away $125 million in the last 14 years. Demsey said grants totaling $9.1 million have funded programs in Africa and $2.4 million of that sum has gone to South Africa.
— Pete Born
L’Oréal Gets YSL Beauté OK
LONDON — The European Commission has given L’Oréal the green light to acquire Yves Saint Laurent Beauté from PPR.
“The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area or a substantial part of it,” the Commission stated Tuesday. “The Commission’s market investigation showed that the merged entity would still face strong competition from effective international cosmetics manufacturers offering the full range of beauty products, such as Estée Lauder, LVMH [Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton] or Chanel.”
As reported, in January L’Oréal proposed to pay PPR 1.15 billion euros, or $1.8 billion, for YSL Beauté Holding, including its Roger & Gallet subsidiary. Through the deal, L’Oréal obtains an exclusive and very long-term worldwide fragrance and cosmetics license for the YSL and Boucheron brands. In addition, L’Oréal will take over YSL Beauté’s fragrance and cosmetics licenses for the Stella McCartney, Oscar de la Renta and Ermenegildo Zegna brands.
— Brid Costello
Aveda Moving N.Y. Location
Aveda is downsizing its New York office space to match occupancy.
The manufacturer of professional, plant-based hair care, skin care, makeup and lifestyle products, which is owned by the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., will be leaving its eight-year-old TriBeCa headquarters, located at 100 Avenue of the Americas, in mid-July and will be heading to a temporary space on Bleecker Street.
Aveda will ultimately call 575 Broadway, where other Lauder brands, such as Crème de la Mer and Bobbi Brown, call home.
“For the past several years we have only occupied about two-thirds of the [TriBeCa] space because of functions that had moved back to [Blaine] Minnesota [where the company is headquartered],” said a spokeswoman for Aveda. “That waste wasn’t appropriate and we reevaluated our needs for New York.”
She added that the company expected to be in its new digs some time in October and that the new space’s design will aim to reflect Aveda’s natural positioning. “Our desire is to have the new space embrace our sensibility and Aveda aesthetic,” said the spokeswoman.
The New York office houses Aveda’s global communications team, Web team and New York sales staff.
— Andrea Nagel
Lab Series to Launch Face Wash
Lab Series Skincare for Men is building on its range of products designed for sensitive skin with the introduction this summer of Mild Foaming Face Wash.
The item, which is priced at $16 for 3.4 oz., includes glycerin to moisturize and condition the skin and aloe leaf juice and oat extract to help calm redness and irritation. Mild Foaming Face Wash joins existing Lab Series products for sensitive skin like Instant Moisture Gel, Night Recovery Lotion and Razor Burn Relief Ultra.
The Lab Series brand, which is owned by the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and comprises 34 products in the U.S. market, is grouped by type into Clean, Shave, Treat and Hair and Body lines.
Mild Foaming Face Wash, part of the Lab Series Clean line, will be available at Labseries.com beginning in August.