Mary Kay Inc. sued a former sales representative in a Dallas federal court Wednesday, alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition.
The suit is also alleging tortious interference with an existing contract as well as with a prospective relationship.
Amy Weber, a former sales rep, and her husband, Scott, allegedly sold Mary Kay cosmetics on eBay and also through Touchofpinkcosmetics.com, where the goods are advertised at 50 to 75 percent below retail prices, according to the suit.
Touch of Pink gets the Mary Kay goods it sells from sales representatives who are supposed to be selling only to the consumer directly, the suit alleged.
"This case arises from the willful and deceitful acts of Ms. Weber, along with her husband, Scott Weber, and their company Touch of Pink Cosmetics, to encourage and facilitate current Mary Kay independent beauty consultants to violate the terms of their contracts," said the suit.
According to the Touch of Pink Web site: "This company has been established by former Mary Kay consultants who are assisting consultants to liquidate their inventory."
Touch of Pink is presented as a success story by ProStores Inc., a company owned by eBay that helps people build stores online. "Our sales have grown tremendously; we're now selling $5,000 to $7,000 a day on ProStores," said Amy Weber in an undated profile on the ProStores Web site.
"This year, our second year, we expect to do $1.5 to $2 million in sales," she said. "I would have never thought that when I started our ProStores Web store in my basement two years ago."
Mary Kay terminated Weber's contract as a sales rep in September 2005, after it found she, in concert with her husband, was selling the company's goods via eBay, said the suit.
"Mary Kay will vigorously pursue this litigation to protect the independent business ownership opportunity that was created by company founder Mary Kay Ash in 1963," said the cosmetics firm.
Mary Kay is seeking unspecified damages, as well as an accounting of sales and for profits to be paid to Mary Kay.
A representative for Touch of Pink could not be reached Thursday.
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