NEW YORK — Montblanc North America LLC and A.T. Cross Co. may be on the brink of ending their ink feud.

According to an order issued on Oct. 21 by Judge Harold Baer Jr. of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, Montblanc and Cross have agreed to negotiate a settlement in a case regarding Cross’ Penatia line of ink refills. According to the order, the companies have until Nov. 1 to reach a settlement before the case proceeds.

The companies could not be reached for comment.

In the original complaint, filed Aug. 5, Montblanc, a subsidiary of French luxury giant Richemont, took issue with the packaging of Cross’ Penatia ink refills, which feature the Montblanc logo in large bold letters three times on the front. Montblanc contends the packaging was deliberately meant to mislead buyers into believing the refills were sponsored by the company.

Background information provided in the complaint indicated that lawyers representing Montblanc sent Cross a cease- and-desist letter in November 2003. A little more than two weeks later, Cross responded, saying it was in the process of changing the packaging so the Montblanc logo would only be used once. Those and other changes, said Montblanc, were never carried out.

According to Cross’ annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission for 2003, the Penatia line of products was developed as part of a new strategy to enter the under $10 market.

Montblanc’s original lawsuit sought redress on seven counts, including trademark infringement and false advertising. The company also sought a permanent injunction and an unspecified amount in compensatory damages.

— Ross Tucker

This story first appeared in the October 27, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.