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VS, Phat Fashions in Copyright Dispute

Is Victoria's Secret's Pink too Phat?

Is Victoria’s Secret’s Pink too Phat?

This story first appeared in the April 14, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

That’s the question in a copyright dispute between Phat Fashions LLC and the innerwear retailer, each of which uses a logo incorporating the letter “P,” laurel leaves and a shield.

Phat Fashions sued Victoria’s Secret Stores Brand Management Inc. in Manhattan federal court last month. It also is alleging unfair competition and false designation of origin.

“Victoria’s Secret is selling infringing merchandise, which is the same as or is closely related to merchandise sold by Phat Fashions and is using a design that is deceptively and confusingly similar to Phat Fashion’s authentic P laurel leaf and shield design,” Phat Fashions said in an amended complaint filed on April 1.

Victoria’s Secret parent, Limited Brands Inc., did not respond to a request for comment.

Phat Fashions, which is owned by Kellwood Co., said it began registering trademarks using the letter “P” and a shield or laurel leaves in 2001. The company said it spent several million dollars a year advertising its designs bearing the “P” logo on apparel, accessories and other merchandise.

Phat Fashions sent a cease and desist letter to Victoria’s Secret in February, but said the retailer refused to comply, the amended complaint said.

Phat Fashions is seeking damages in excess of $1 million, as well as the destruction of all alleged infringing merchandise.

Victoria’s Secret rolled out its Pink brand nationally in 2004. It has been a strong name for the chain, gaining a staunch following among the college set. Pink has expanded into a lifestyle brand with accessories, loungewear and other offerings.