Why Is Burberry Suing JC Penney?

The JC Penney department store chain and international luxury brand Burberry will be mixing it up in court over trademark infringement, Reuters reported Tuesday (Feb. 9).

At issue is Burberry’s famous and very distinctive check pattern, which the brand claims Penney’s is selling an exact copy of on “quilted jackets” and  “scarf coats” in which scarves carrying the pattern were sold with a matching coat. Burberry has held a trademark for the red, black, white and camel color combination in a plaid pattern since the 1920s — and the brand claims that JCP has continued selling the merchandise long after Burberry officially complained.

The Levy Group, a Manhattan distributor accused of supplying the merchandise in question, was also named as a defendant in the case.

Even though defendants’ infringing products are of inferior quality, they appear superficially similar to genuine Burberry products,” Burberry said. “Defendants’ actions are intended to deceive and mislead consumers into believing that defendants’ or their products are authorized, sponsored by or connected to Burberry.”

Neither JCP or Levy have offered a public comment on the suit.

The lawsuit is seeking a stop to the infringements. The plaintiff is also seeking either triple damages, the disgorgement of illegal profit, or up to $2 million for each infringed trademark.


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