By  on February 9, 2009

Iconix Brand Group Inc. has filed a breach of contract suit against Rampage founder Larry Hansel for allegedly competing with the company, to which he sold the brand more than three years ago.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan on Feb. 3, the New York-based brand management firm, through its subsidiary IP Holdings LLC, accused Hansel and his company, Larry Hansel Clothing Co. LLC, of violating a clause barring him from directly competing against Rampage while still under contract.

Hansel founded Rampage in 1983 and sold the brand to Iconix in 2005 for $45.9 million in cash and stock. He stayed on as designer and distributor until October 2008.

Hansel did not return calls seeking comment.

The suit alleges that Los Angeles-based Hansel Clothing started work on a directly competitive line last year in anticipation of the end of the non-compete agreement in December.

In court documents, Iconix said it entered into an amended agreement with Hansel in August that allowed him to prepare a new line of junior sportswear for spring contingent on him making $1.9 million in royalty payments. The suit alleges Hansel has not made the payments in full and was thus in violation of the contract in bringing his new lines to market.

In November, he told WWD of his plans to launch Grass, a junior sportswear line, in 500 department stores in mid-February.

Iconix is seeking $1.5 million in damages from Larry Hansel Clothing Co. and $1 million from Hansel individually.

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