NEW YORK — The Professional Products Division of L’Oréal is stepping up measures to keep its salon brands out of chain drug stores or any retail outlet where the brands don’t belong.

On Wednesday, the division served a motion for contempt against Quality King Distributors Inc., and related companies, for repeated violations of an injunction preventing the wholesaler from buying and selling L’Oréal’s Matrix professional salon brand in the gray market.

“We want to send a clear message that the L’Oréal Professional Products Division will not tolerate diversion of our products,” said David Craggs, president of the division. “We have a very robust antidiversion program in place and we will do everything in our power to protect our legitimate channels of distribution and our relationship with genuine salons and hair dressers.”

According to the court papers, Quality King, based in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., along with several other companies, violated a longstanding court order prohibiting it from acquiring and redistributing the Matrix brand.

The L’Oréal division also filed a lawsuit in state court in Manhattan charging Quality King with breach of a settlement agreement in which the wholesaler agreed not to buy and sell its ARTec products.

The motion follows a long-term search by L’Oréal USA’s security department that, according to L’oréal’s professional division, substantiated Quality King’s violations of the Matrix injunction and the ARTec settlement agreement.

The Matrix contempt motion is to be argued before the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, on Long Island. L’Oréal filed the ARTec Complaint on behalf of its Professional Products Division, in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday, July 14.

Quality King could not be reach for comment.

— Molly Prior

This story first appeared in the July 16, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.