In a complaint filed last week in the Southern District of New York, Burberry has alleged that Target has repeatedly and willfully infringed its federally registered Burberry check design, through the sale of imitation or counterfeit products.
According to the complaint, Burberry sent Target a cease-and-desist letter in 2017 regarding Target’s sale of products such as eyewear, luggage, and stainless-steel bottles bearing unauthorized reproductions of the Burberry check design. Allegedly, several months later, Burberry learned that Target had also begun selling “copycat scarves,” in what Burberry characterizes as an “intent to continue selling infringing merchandise without regard for Burberry’s intellectual property rights.”
The complaint provides the images shown below for comparison purposes.
Interestingly, Burberry contends that “Target’s well-publicized history of collaborating with popular brands and fashion designers to promote and sell Target-exclusive limited edition collections” increases the risk in this particular case that consumers would mistakenly believe that the products at issue are affiliated with, endorsed or authorized by, or somehow connected to Burberry, or that they are genuine Burberry products.
Burberry has raised several causes of action under the federal Lanham Act, including trademark counterfeiting, trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and trademark dilution, as well as related common law and New York state law claims. Burberry is seeking the entry of an injunction, destruction of all infringing goods and their means of production, and significant monetary damages, to be calculated as either: (1) an award of treble damages; (2) a trebled sum of all illicit profits derived by Target; or (3) statutory damages of up to $2,000,000 for each trademark that has been counterfeited and/or infringed, in addition to attorney’s fees and costs, punitive damages, and any damages available to Burberry under its state law claims.
It will be interesting to see how this case unfolds, given the importance of the check design to the Burberry brand.