Legal Briefs

<STRONG>Louis Vuitton Malletier</STRONG> and <STRONG>Marc Jacobs International</STRONG> have reached a settlement in their dispute with <STRONG>The Wet Seal</STRONG> regarding sales of knockoff handbags. On Feb. 24, Manhattan Federal Court Judge Louis...

Louis Vuitton Malletier and Marc Jacobs International have reached a settlement in their dispute with The Wet Seal regarding sales of knockoff handbags. On Feb. 24, Manhattan Federal Court Judge Louis L. Stanton dismissed the lawsuit based on the terms of the settlement agreement. Details were not disclosed. Vuitton and Jacobs filed their original complaint in September, accusing the teen retailer of selling copies of Vuitton’s “Theda” and “Sac de Nuit” handbags, as well as a copy of Marc Jacobs’ “Venetia” bag. The items were sold at Wet Seal’s Arden B. stores, according to the complaint.

Payless Shoesource Worldwide has filed suit against Target Corp. in federal court in Kansas, accusing the mass retailer of violating the terms of a 1999 agreement between the companies dictating the manner in which the words “Pay Less” may be used. Payless holds trademark rights for the phrases “Look Smart. Payless,” and “Buy More, Payless,” according to the complaint filed on Feb. 23.

However, Target holds the rights to the phrase “Expect More. Pay Less.” According to the 1999 agreement, included in the complaint, Target said it would not present the “Pay Less” portion of its “Expect More. Pay Less.” trademark in a larger size. However, the complaint said the words “Pay Less” appear in a larger size on Target’s long-haul trailers. The shoe retailer deemed certain in-store signage and coupons to violate a portion of the agreement stating that “in no case…shall the letters ‘Y’ and ‘L’ touch nor shall either letter extend into the vertical plane of the other letter.” The complaint also accused Target of using the phrases “Pay Less” and “Party More. Pay Less.” as well as “Eat Well. Pay Less.” with the intent of establishing its own trademark.

“It appears that Target has embarked on a marketing campaign to expand trademark use of its ‘Expect More. Pay Less.’ mark by creating multiple variants which reiterate Pay Less,” the complaint said. Topeka, Kan.-based Payless is alleging violations on five counts, including trademark infringement and breach of contract and seeks an unspecified amount in damages. Target did not return a call for comment.

This story first appeared in the March 14, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Designer Jay Strongwater filed a lawsuit against Liz Claiborne Inc. and Kohl’s Corp., accusing the companies of manufacturing and selling knockoffs of two of his compact mirror designs. The complaint, filed March 1 in Manhattan Federal Court by Jay Strongwater Inc. and Weingeroff Enterprises Inc., said Claiborne manufactured copies of Strongwater’s Chinoserie and Bloomsbury designs, which were then sold at Kohl’s stores.

The complaint alleged one count of copyright infringement and asked for an unspecified amount in damages. Strongwater’s compacts retail for $100 to more than $325, while the Kohl’s versions were listed at $15. Claiborne would not comment on pending litigation. Kohl’s did not return a call seeking comment. Strongwater’s Mr. and Mrs. Potato, covered with 25,000 multicolor crystals and on sale for $8,000 each, were featured in Neiman Marcus’ annual Christmas Book last year.