The motion, if approved, would likely seal the complaint and include redactions on forthcoming motions, in order to protect certain confidential information.
Presiding Judge Jeffrey Oing told both sides in Manhattan state court Monday that he “would sign” the papers once they were filed.
At issue is whether Martha Stewart, in cutting a deal to sell branded products to Penney’s, has violated her 2006 agreement to make and sell certain branded products exclusively to Macy’s.
While the complaint has not yet been filed — just a summons and a notice — the lawyers divulged some of the case’s core issues at the conference on Monday.
“Macy’s is built around private licenses and exclusive brands,” said Ted Grossman, a partner at Jones Day, who represents Macy’s. “The reason why a person goes to Macy’s versus someplace else is because it’s the only place they can get it.”
The attorney argued that Martha Stewart “confirmed” last week at a Penney’s presentation that the product her company sells exclusively to Macy’s will be sold at Penney’s.
As a result, Macy’s said it intends to file a preliminary injunction to prevent Martha Stewart from selling such branded wares to its rival.
The lawsuit has become a new front in the battle between Macy’s, which has consolidated its position in the traditional department store space, and Penney’s, which operates at a lower price point but is steering an aggressive new course under chief executive officer Ron Johnson, who rose to prominence as head of Apple’s retail effort.
Penney’s plans to replace the 400 brands currently on its floors with 100 focused shop-in-shops and to continue to link up with brand names such as Martha Stewart and Nanette Lepore. This emphasis on having fewer, stronger brands puts Penney’s in more direct competition with Macy’s and its exclusive offerings from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Madonna.
The legal fireworks could be just the beginning of a new supercharged rivalry between the two department store giants.
Counsel for the defense, Eric Seiler of Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP, reminded Judge Oing that Penney’s wouldn’t be selling any Martha Stewart-branded product in its stores until February 2013. After renewing its agreement with Martha Stewart last week, Macy’s contends that its agreement with the brand now expires in January 2018.
“Macy’s does not have an exclusive with Martha Stewart,” Seiler said. “Certain goods are made for Macy’s…but we sell to Michael’s [Stores]…to Home Depot.”
Judge Oing smiled and confirmed that he in fact “does remember” seeing Stewart’s line of paint at Home Depot.
“The issue, which is a narrower issue, is the contract says that Martha Stewart, which has a standing agreement with Macy’s, can sell goods in MSLO, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, stores, and we are creating Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia stores inside of J.C. Penney,” the attorney clarified. “We have the absolute right to sell whatever we want in MSLO stores.”
Macy’s raised concerns over its intellectual property rights connected to its Martha Stewart-branded product. But lawyers for Martha Stewart said the company doesn’t “intend to sell any” of the goods it makes for Macy’s or give those designs to J.C. Penney.
Opposing counsel added that designers working on Martha Stewart Collection, Martha Stewart’s Macy’s line, will not be working on the Penney’s collection.
“Right now we’re spinning our wheels here,” interrupted Judge Oing. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to file a TRO [temporary restraining order].”
The judge indicated that, if filed, he consider whether to sign such an order, which would remain in effect while a motion for preliminary injunction is being decided.
“Figure out what you want me to sign in respect to the confidentiality of the case,” he said. “We’ll go from there.”
With that, both sides agreed to file that paperwork today.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)