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Juicy Couture Sues Web Store Over Trademark

The message from Liz Claiborne Inc.'s lawyers: Don't mess with Juicy.

financial/news
The message from Liz Claiborne Inc.'s lawyers: Don't mess with Juicy.

Juicy Couture Inc., a division of Claiborne, filed suit against Lime Blue, the operators of Juicycampus.com, alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition. The site, which has been in operation since at least as early as August, also operates a Juicy newsletter and a Juicy blog.

The Juicycampus online store has sold a variety of goods displaying a Juicycampus logo, including T-shirts for $21.19 and a hoodie for $34.19, according to the suit filed Friday in a Manhattan federal court.

"We must vigorously defend our trademarks against infringements that cause consumer confusion or that threaten to diminish the trademark's capacity to serve as unique and strong identifiers for our products," said Juicy Couture in a statement to WWD. "Our goal is always to prevent such confusion and to protect our brands against dilution, as permitted by trademark law."

The suit seeks to stop the Web site from using the trademark and asks that Lime Blue turn over for destruction all apparel and other goods bearing the Juicy name. Claiborne is also seeking damages.

The gossip site solicits and publishes comments by college students, and is also being investigated by the New Jersey and Connecticut attorneys general, the lawsuit said.

"There's absolutely no likelihood of consumer confusion," said Matt Ivester, founder and chief executive officer of Juicycampus.com. "We are a gossip Web site and they are a clothing brand, so we're really surprised that they're filing this lawsuit and we feel like it's just malicious."

Ivester said the company temporarily took down its online store, but maintained that the apparel with the Juicycampus.com logo that was sold there produced less than $100 in sales and didn't infringe on the fashion brand.

Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor founded Juicy Couture in 1989 and sold it to Claiborne in 2003. It is now a key brand under Claiborne's umbrella. Court papers said retail and wholesale distribution for Juicy "exceeded $420 million in 2007."

Claiborne will continue to heavily tout Juicy and plans to spend more than $55 million to promote the brand this year, up from more than $30 million in 2007, according to the lawsuit.

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