LIBERTINE CASE: A trial date has been set for Jan. 23 for Los Angeles federal court in the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by bicoastal designer brand Libertine in April against Los Angeles-based contemporary brand A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz. Libertine alleges A.B.S. copied the design of its label and appropriated original artwork used for silk-screening apparel. This marks the first time A.B.S. company founder and design director Allen Schwartz has gone to trial for copyright violation, though the success of his brand has been based on manufacturing and selling affordable copies of designer dresses. Libertine co-founder and co-designer Johnson Hartig alleges A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz earned approximately $14 million using artwork lifted from his company, adding Libertine was forced to discontinue the graphics, “for fear of association.”

NEW DONEGER DIVISION: The Doneger Group is expanding its consulting and merchandising services by developing a footwear division, which will be led by Maria Carvalho. She rejoins Doneger as merchandise manager of footwear, after serving as Doneger’s accessories buyer for the bridge-designer division from 1993 to 1997. Carvalho, a 10-year veteran in footwear, will report to Roseanne Cumella, senior vice president of merchandising. Most recently, Carvalho was trade show director for ENK International’s Sole Commerce shoe show. Before that, she ran her own independent buying office for high-end boutiques selling footwear, accessories and jewelry.

NIKE TAPS O’NEILL: Nike Inc. has promoted Heidi O’Neill to head the company’s global women’s fitness business. The post is one of five new global category management positions announced by Nike in August. O’Neill joined the Beaverton, Ore., athletic giant in 1998 and most recently was vice president of U.S. apparel. She will report to Trevor Edwards, vice president of global brand and category management.

This story first appeared in the January 10, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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