Thomas Pink has won its legal battle against lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret.
The LVMH owned shirt maker, Thomas Pink, had filed a lawsuit back in May 2013 against lingerie company Victoria Secret, accusing it of confusing consumers by selling products under the ‘PINK’ name.
In his judgement, Judge Colin Birss stated that Victoria’s Secret had infringed the trademark rights owned by Thomas Pink Ltd. He said that customers of the shirt company could be confused into thinking the Victoria Secret ‘PINK’ brand was connected to it and that this would cause a “detriment to the repute” of its brand.
Thomas Pink was set up in the mid-1980s, while Victoria’s Secret has used the trademark Victoria’s Secret Pink since 2001. The branding includes an online community, hosted on the lingerie firm’s website, called “Pink Nation”. The line is aimed primarily at university age customers and is now one of the brand’s most popular ranges.
Wigs And Gowns are surprised at the ruling. Isn’t ‘pink’ a colour? Will I have to think of a new term to describe my Paul Smith coat in case LVMH sue me? What about Barbie, are they coming after her too? We wouldn’t be surprised. LVMH have been up to what some would describe as ‘underhand’ dealings lately (just ask Hermès) and we all know LVMH have a history of crazy lawsuits!
Trademarking a colour is not unheard of but is notoriously difficult to obtain. And rightly so. Tiffany Blue and Veuve Clicquot Orange both spring to mind but those are specific shades of colours – not the whole colour and certainly not the word itself. Even Cadburys was refused a colour trademark for its famous purple colour that I’m sure many people associate with the chocolate brand (though it would have left the big purple one from the Quality Street in a dubious position.) There isn’t an infinite amount of colours – if people were allowed trademark them willy-nilly, the rest of us would live in a very dreary black and white world. It’s the same principal as trademarking a musical chord (yes, we’re looking at you Metallica), it wouldn’t be long before there were no chords left and the making of music halted in its tracks.
Not that we’ve much sympathy for Victoria’s Secret. Back in February the lingerie company asked a federal agency in the US to cancel the trademark of an online retailer, thepinkstore.com. The company claim that the trademark ‘The Pink Store’ could confuse consumers into thinking it is connected to Victoria Secret! Victoria’s The store’s owner, Rebekah Doolittle, obtained a trademark registration in May 2013 for the name The Pink Store from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. She had founded the online boutique in 2011 which sells a variety of pink coloured products including handbags, children’s toys and cuff links.