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Company Lawsuit: Burberry Sued J.C. Penney for Selling Infringed Products Using Its Trademark Pattern

February 10
2:18 AM 2016

British luxury fashion brand Burberry Group filed a lawsuit against U.S. retailer J.C. Penney over an accusation of violation of the brand's trademark. The lawsuit seeks up to $2 million for each infringed trademark, or triple damages, or the disgorgement of illegal profit. 

Burberry accused J.C. Penney of alleged infringement of the brand's famous check pattern. The Burberry check trademark is a tartan-like pattern mostly featuring the color combination of red, black, white, and camel that appears to be the base color. There have been some variations to the pattern, but the original one remains the most popular. The brand has been using the trademark pattern its products since the 1920s. The brand itself was founded in 1856 in London.

According to Reuters, the lawsuit stated that J.C. Penney was illegally selling quilted jackets and scarf coats with the Burberry pattern all over the products. It is also stated that the retailer kept selling the products even after they had learned Burberry's objections. The infringed jackets and scarf coats were still found in the retailer's stores for two months after Burberry's initial statement of objection.

Besides J.C. Penney as the retailer, the Levy Group was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The New York-based clothing distributor was accused of allegedly supplied the products.

Burberry stated that even though the infringed products are of inferior quality, they appear superficially similar to the genuine products by the brand. "Defendants' actions are intended to deceive and mislead consumers into believing that defendants' or their products are authorized, sponsored by or connected to Burberry," the brand noted. According to Fortune, J.C. Penney caters to more frugal customers. 

The lawsuit seeks either triple damages, the disgorgement of illegal profits, or up to $2 million for each infringed trademark. In addition, Burberry also seeks to stop further infringements in production and sales.

BizJournal reported that last year J.C. Penney was also involved in two lawsuits for false claim over products materials and advertising lowered prices from a falsely inflated price. The Plano-based retailer gets more than half of its sales from in-house brands of clothes and home goods.

Both defendants, J.C. Penney and the Levy Group haven't commented on the matter. Burberry claimed that the two defendants intentionally infringe the brand's trademark pattern to deceive and mislead consumers into believing that the product is connected to the 160-year-old brand. And for that, the defendants could face a $2 million lawsuit or triple damages, or disgorgement of illegal profits. 

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