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Burberry Accuses J.C. Penney of Ripping Off its Check Pattern

Feb 09, 2016

British high end fashion brand Burberry (burby) is suing J.C. Penney (jcp), accusing the mid-tier department store of infringing on its signature "Burberry check" pattern.

Burberry claimed in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon that it has suffered "substantial and irreparable injury." The British fashion house said Penney had been illegally selling "quilted jackets" with the pattern, as well as "scarf coats" in which scarves with the pattern were sold with matching coats. Burberry claimed that Penney kept selling the items in question for two months after learning of its objections.

A J.C. Penney spokeswoman declined to comment, citing company policy on pending litigation.

Taking a dig at Penney, which caters to more frugal customers, Burberry said in the court filing that "even though defendants' infringing products are of inferior quality, they appear superficially similar to genuine Burberry products." It then said Penney had intended to "deceive and mislead consumers into believing that defendants' or their products are authorized, sponsored by or connected to Burberry." The London-based company said it has held the check trademark since the 1920s.

The lawsuit seeks a halt to further infringements, as well as either triple damages, the disgorgement of illegal profits, or up to $2 million for each infringed trademark, Reuters reported.

Penney gets about 51% of its sales from in-house brands of clothes and home goods.

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