Burberry has filed a trademark infringement suit against JC Penny over copying the brands’ trademark check pattern on a number of clothes and accessories. JC Penny reportedly sold quilted jackets that were lined with Burberry’s famous check pattern as well as a number of scarves.
“Even though defendants’ infringing products are of inferior quality, they appear superficially similar to genuine Burberry products,” said Burberry in the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York. The brand also claimed that JC Penny’s actions are intended to deceive and mislead consumers into believing that defendants’ or their products are authorised, sponsored by or connected to Burberry.”
Burberry has used its check trademark since the 1920s, in its original red, camel, black and white color combination as well as other combinations. Back in the 1990s the check was adopted by English football hooligans and Z list soap stars when a series of ill advised licensing deals resulted in Burberry check being used on a multitude of products ranging from children’s pushchairs to more traditional clothing items. The availability to the mass market downgraded the Burberry brand in the eyes of the traditional, elite Burberry customer and almost destroyed the brand. Those old enough to remember, may recall the below picture of Daniella Westbrook in head to toe Burberry signalling the death knell of Burberry as a desirable label.
However, the brand fought back and managed to buy back most of its licenses and turned the company into the fashion power house that it is today. There’s little surprise Burberry is anxious to avoid any further damage that cheaper versions of its products can bring about- particularly when it comes to that infamous plaid!
The Levy Group, a Manhattan distributor accused of supplying the infringing merchandise, was also named as a defendant. The lawsuit seeks a halt to further infringements as well as $2 million for each infringed trademark.