Designers Beware: Copycat Coughs Up Big Cash
After two years of battle in court, Tory Burch LLC (“Tory Burch”) wins $41.2 million ($38.9 million in damages and $2.3 million in attorneys’ fees) in its trademark infringement lawsuit against Lin & J International, Inc. (“Lin & J”), which was filed on May 31, 2013, in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York. Tory Burch alleged in its 2013 complaint that Lin & J’s unauthorized use of Tory Burch’s federally registered trademarks and copyrighted works violated trademark counterfeiting, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, copyright infringement, and unfair competition laws. In particular, Tory Burch claimed that Lin & J wrongfully reproduced earrings, necklaces, pendants, cuffs, bangles, and bracelets bearing unauthorized reproductions of Tory Burch’s famous TT Designs (see below).
Despite the apparent similarities, Lin & J had countersued Tory Burch for unfair trade practices, tortious interference with its business relationships, defamation, and trademark infringement. Lin & J claimed that its Isis Design is inspired by the Isis cross or a Coptic cross, which is a symmetrical cross with short, flanged bars, typically set in a circle. Nonetheless, in addition to finding that Lin & J had fabricated and destroyed evidence, the court ruled against Lin & J. This $41.2 million win for Tory Burch will be another notch added to her designer belt and not to mention her $3 billion (yes, with a “B” billion) empire.