NEW YORK — Juicy Couture and Davidoff took the offensive against two big-name beauty product manufacturers they feel are out to profit on the success of their brands.
In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 9, Juicy Couture Inc., which was acquired by Liz Claiborne Inc. in 2003, accused Paris-based Lancôme Parfums et Beaute & Cie of infringing on its trademark rights by selling cosmetics and fragrances using the Juicy name.
In a separate lawsuit, filed Sept. 14, Davidoff & Cie SA accused Inter Parfums Inc. and its subsidiary, Jean Philippe Fragrances LLC, of selling imitations of its Cool Water fragrance.
At issue for Juicy Couture is Lancôme’s use of names such as Juicy, Juicy Pop, Juicy Rouge and Juicy Wear on an array of products including cosmetics bags, lipstick, lip gloss and nail polish. Lancôme said in a statement that no objections were raised when it received federal registration for the trademark Juicy Tubes in 2000.
“We believe we have priority in the cosmetic field and that Juicy Couture’s plan for expansion into our category is the impetus for this action,” the statement said.
According to the complaint, Lancôme employed advertising techniques that Juicy Couture feels imitate its “own style of promotion,” causing confusion in the marketplace and potentially diluting sales. Background information offered in the complaint indicated that sales of Juicy Couture products had exceeded $100 million in wholesale over the past 12 months.
The suit pointed to the production and advertisement of Lancôme’s Juicy Wear line in particular as evidence of the company’s intent to confuse or deceive customers, a crucial element plaintiffs must prove in trademark violation cases.
“Lancôme’s introduction of a lip color and shine product duo under the mark Juicy Wear, a mark having obvious apparel connotations, further evidences Lancôme’s predatory intent to trade upon the goodwill and reputation of Juicy,” said the complaint. The complaint went on to say that Lancôme’s Juicy lip product had been sold with a promotional handbag made with a pink “suede-like material” with a brown vinyl handle and silver zippers. Juicy contends the bag is a copy of its pink terry cloth bag with a brown leather handle and a silver zipper.
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Juicy is seeking redress on seven counts, including trademark infringement, false destination of origin and deceptive acts and practices. The company is asking for a permanent injunction against further use of the Juicy name and that all products be recalled and turned over for destruction. An unspecified amount in damages also is sought.
Meanwhile, Davidoff’s complaint centers on its Cool Water line of fragrances, which, according to the filing, generated retail sales in excess of $39 million in 2003.
“Cool Water has been among the top 10 best-selling men’s fragrances in the United States for four of the past five years, and Cool Water Woman has been among the top 10 women’s fragrances for three of the past five years,” said the complaint.
Davidoff is targeting Inter Parfums subsidiary Jean Philippe and its Paris fragrance for men. Aside from similar packaging and a similar blue bottle design, the Jean Philippe fragrance has a label that reads “Our version of Cool Water” on the front.
Inter Parfums declined to comment on the suit.
The complaint said the Davidoff imitations are sold online and at mass retailers such as Wal-Mart and Kmart.
The Geneva, Switzerland-based company is seeking redress on six counts, including trademark infringement and deceptive trade practices. As with the Juicy lawsuit, Davidoff is seeking a permanent injunction barring future sales and use of the Davidoff trademarks and is asking for all goods and advertising to be handed over for destruction. An undisclosed amount in damages is sought as well.
The outcome of the case could greatly impact the future of Inter Parfums’ mass retail segment, as it offers similar imitation fragrances of Chanel No.5, Carolina Herrera, White Diamonds, CK One and a host of others.