Brioni S.P.A. has filed a lawsuit against Darya Trading Inc., seeking to get it to stop using the name Bianco Brioni.
The lawsuit, filed in a Manhattan federal court last month, alleges federal and New York state law claims of trademark infringement and unfair competition. Also named as a defendant in the suit was Sohrab Ashraflo, who is said in the court document to be the owner and president of Darya Trading. The company is based in Van Nuys, Calif., while Ashraflo is stated as a resident of Los Angeles.
In the court document, Brioni, the Italian men’s wear firm owned by Kering, charged the California company with usurping Brioni’s trademark, as well as selling “inferior quality men’s suits and other apparel under the mark Bianco Brioni.” The second part of the alleged infringing mark used Brioni’s script font logo. Because of that use, the document said the “[d]efendants are unfairly trading on the fame of plaintiff’s trademark and apparel to exploit consumer desire for genuine Brioni apparel, and are diluting and tarnishing the valuable Brioni mark.”
The Italian men’s fashion firm cited actual confusion in the marketplace. The suit said it has “received e-mails in which consumers or members of the trade have inquired about defendants’ Bianco Brioni suits, falsely believing that defendants’ suits are manufactured and sold by Brioni. Consumers have also posted on various fashion Web sites and blogs indicating that they believe that the goods sold by defendants are plaintiff’s well-known Brioni suits.”
Founded in 1945, Brioni said it rose to prominence as a manufacturer of luxury, high-quality men’s suits, and that it is now a recognized leader in the field of men’s fashion. The stylized Brioni mark has been used for decades in the U.S., and annual sales under the mark total in the “hundreds of millions of dollars,” the suit said, citing a number of celebrities who have worn its suits at major Hollywood events, such as Richard Burton, Henry Fonda, Clark Gable and Leonardo DeCaprio. Further, the James Bond character frequently “donned Brioni suits in recent Bond films, further exposing consumers to plaintiff’s Brioni mark and apparel.” The company said in the suit that it has valid federal trademark registrations for different Brioni marks, including the scripted version, that are “valid, subsisting and in full force and effect,” besides also being ‘incontestable.’”
The lawsuit said the defendants have applied for registration of the Bianco Brioni mark.
Brioni is seeking injunctive relief to bar the defendants from using the alleged infringing marks, an accounting of profits from the alleged wrongdoing and attorneys’ fees.
Executives at Darya Trading’s office did not respond to a request for comment.