BUCCELLATI SUES BUCCELLATI: Upscale jeweler and watchmaker Buccellati Holding Italia SpA slapped handbag designer Laura Buccellati, the grandniece of company founder Mario Buccellati, with a trademark infringement lawsuit on Friday.
Filed in New York federal court, the lawsuit claims the bag designer used her own trademarked name to falsely imply her company’s association with her family’s business. Calling Laura Buccellati’s trademarks “imitations” of the Buccellati marks, the complaint said that the marks are being used on handbags, carryalls, purses, wallets, belts and scarves, and being sold by the designer.
This story first appeared in the October 19, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The plaintiffs cite an excerpt from laurabuccellati.com, in which the defendant writes that her “collection of fine leather accessories follows in the footsteps of her family’s tradition of excellence and impeccable craftsmanship.”
“We have been informed that certain documents have been filed in a New York court concerning our company Laura Buccellati LLC,” Laura Buccellati told WWD. “We have not yet had the opportunity to review the documents and therefore have no comment at this time.”
According to the lawsuit, this isn’t the first time Laura Buccellati tried to “capitalize on the popularity” of her last name.
After she sold her entire interest in the Buccellati companies in 1989, the designer, along with Lilian Azel, co-founder of Laura Buccellati, “attempted to register trademarks comprising of/containing the name Laura Buccellati, both in the United States and internationally,” the suit said. Registration for the U.S. marks was denied, and the designer commenced an opposition proceeding against Buccellati that is currently pending before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Claiming trademark dilution, false designation of origin, unfair competition and unfair deceptive trade practices, the plaintiff is seeking injunctive relief, damages, attorney’s fees and investigatory costs.