NEW YORK — Treat Inc., the maker of personal care products resembling baked goods sold in specialty and department stores, has been awarded a default judgment in a trademark and trade dress infringement suit against Jessica Simpson's Dessert Treat line, a cosmetics line sold in the mass and specialty distribution channels. Representation for Dessert Beauty was not present for the case, hence the default judgement.
The two law firms representing Treat and Dessert Beauty, The DuBoff Law Group, LLC in Portland and Cowan, Leibowitz and Latman in New York, respectively, both said they have discussed setting aside the default judgement, but attorney Marisa James of the firm for Treat said "nothing had been signed on the dotted line" as of yet.
Arlana Cohen, a partner with CLL, said as soon as her firm learned of the default judgment, "which was on Monday, we prepared an emergency motion to set aside the default on the grounds that we believe there is absolutely no infringement and that the default was wrongly granted." Cohen suggested that letters alerting Dessert Beauty, the makers of Dessert Treat, of the complaint must have been sent by "carrier pigeon" because "we did not know this was going on." Dessert Beauty has headquarters in Barbados with North American offices in Ottawa, Ontario.
Dessert Treats launched in the mass market earlier this year to much fanfare — considering the hype the Jessica Simpson name generates. According to Information Resources Inc., the brand has generated more than $10.6 million in sales in food, drug and mass channels for the 52-week period ended Oct. 2. Sales do not include Wal-Mart. While Dessert Treats is sold in thousands of mass market doors, the business is small compared to its prestige business, which as of February tallied $55 million in sales.
"They would be wounded but it won't be fatal," said beauty industry consultant Allan Mottus of Dessert Beauty if it were to lose its case in court. "But they are very clever people. The whole idea of taste and sweet is a new category for both younger and hip female consumers."
According to a judgment on Oct. 12 by U.S. District Court Judge Ancer L. Haggerty in the U.S. District Court District of Oregon, Dessert Beauty, the maker of Dessert Treats, has been ordered to cease distributing its beauty line and is "restrained and enjoined from engaging in any further acts of infringement, including but not limited to use of the mark Dessert Treats in connection with bath and body care products."
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