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.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)