Victoria's Secret Pink brand loses UK trademark suit

Dive Brief:

  • Lingerie and apparel retailer Victoria’s Secret has lost a trademark case in the United Kingdom after the High Court there ruled that its Pink line infringes on upscale London-based Thomas Pink Ltd.’s menswear brand.

  • Victoria’s Secret is owned by retail company L Brands Inc. and Thomas Pink is owned by upscale retail company LVMH. The judge in the case said that Victoria’s Secret “sexy, mass-market appeal” could be a “detriment to the repute” of Thomas Pink’s brand.

  • Meanwhile, Victoria’s Secret in June asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reconsider the trademark it granted in May to an Elkhorn, NE-based e-retailer, the Pink Store, which has sold pink clothing and other items since 2011.

Dive Insight:

Retailers need to maintain the integrity of their brands, which is one reason they can be very vigilant about their trademarks, sometimes to nearly comic effect. This summer, Victoria’s Secret is arguing both ways, in one case saying its Pink line wouldn’t be confused with Thomas Pink’s staid menswear brand, in another saying it fears confusion over a boutique e-retailer’s pink-obsessed wares. One couldn’t be faulted for wondering: Which is it?

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