Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Juicy Couture sues Victoria’s Secret for trademark and trade dress infringement

I previously wrote (link here) about the efforts by Juicy Couture Inc. (“Juicy Couture”), the owner of the mark JUICY (most often seen on the back side of skintight terrycloth sweatpant-wearing females) to stop the owner of the Juicy Campus website from selling clothing emblazoned with the name “Juicy Campus.” The news today (here, here, and here) was about another lawsuit filed by Juicy Couture, but this time against a much more formidable foe – Victoria’s Secret (“VS”). See Juicy Couture Inc. v. Victoria's Secret Stores Brand Management Inc. et al., Case No. 08-cv-3985 (S.D.N.Y April 28, 2008).

According to published media reports (I have not reviewed a copy of the filed complaint), Juicy Couture is apparently upset over VS’s Pink line of clothing products alleging that they are confusingly similar to Juicy Couture’s own popular clothing lines (“Pink has applied slogans across the seat of pants which famously originated with Juicy Couture and identifies its brand.”).

Juicy and Pink
[ed.- anyone else detect a common theme here?]

Juicy Couture also objects to certain candy-shaped product packaging introduced by VS last October (click here for one account of these new products). Juicy Couture apparently is objecting to VS’s “Panty Pops” (ladies underwear packaged like lollipops), “Panty Candy” (a line of thongs packaged like bon-bons) and “Camy and Panty Cone” (a holiday gift set with tank top and matching underwear wrapped in an ice-cream box).

“Panty Pops"

“Panty Candy”

“Camy and Panty Cone”

Juicy Couture argues that VS’s candy-shaped packaging is confusingly similar to Juicy Couture's own Sweet Shoppe line of packaging resembling lollipops, bon-bons and ice cream cones and thus constitutes trade dress infringement ("In copying Juicy Couture's distinctive and unique trade dress, defendants crossed the line from design imitation to trade dress infringement. Because of the source-identifying function of Juicy Couture's packaging and the striking similarities, the defendant's packaging is likely to deceive consumers as to the origin of the products contained within.") I was unable to any pictures of Juicy Couture's “distinctive and unique” Sweet Shoppe packaging online – all I could find with respect to Sweet Shoppe was a charm bracelet.

Juicy Couture's Sweet Shoppe Charm Bracelet

Juicy Couture appears to be trying to corner the market on terrycloth shorts and sweatpants with slogans across the seat of the pants. As for Juicy Couture’s trade dress claims, while I could not find any pictures of Juicy Couture’s product packaging online (which does make you wonder how unique, distinctive, and recognizable it could be), I doubt that Juicy Couture’s product packaging is so distinctive that it has come to be recognized as a unique source identifier for Juicy Couture – instead of merely novelty product packaging appealing to a female audience.

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