Victoria’s Secret fought a legal battle with a U.K. menswear shop over the right to have a store named Pink for it’s clothing line aimed at teens and young adults. The Europe-based men’s clothing store claimed that sharing a name with a lingerie line could be confusing for customers — and a judge agreed.
According to Josic, Thomas Pink worried that having his men’s clothing store associated with sexy, feminine clothing could be detrimental to his brand, and filed a suit last year based on accusations of copyright infringement.
Vogue reported at the time that Victoria’s Secret had responded with a countersuit, demanding the right to continue selling its products and to maintain a “peaceful co-existence” with the London-based shop.
Judge Colin Birss, of London, ruled in favor of Thomas Pink, agreeing that Victoria’s Secret infringed on Pink’s trademark by using the word to name their clothing line. It is notable that Thomas Pink saw no need for concern as long as Victoria’s Secret was selling the line only in their main stores, but when they opened a shop in London’s Bond Street, and put up a sign reading Pink rather than their traditional Victoria’s Secret label, Thomas Pink, Ltd, felt that there might be confusion, NBC News says.
According to Business of Fashion, the judge said in his ruling that customers might enter Thomas Pink stores seeking the famous brand of lingerie and loungewear, and be disappointed.
As of now, Victoria’s Secret hasn’t been explicitly told that they can’t use the word Pink as a name for their lingerie brand. The ruling may apply only to the use of the word Pink as a name for a stand alone shop, and not the clothing line itself, according to Racked, which notes that Victoria’s Secret only began opening shops in the U.K. in 2012.
It’s also possible that the company will be asked to use a different name for the line of clothing for European sales, according to some legal authorities Racked spoke with.
Vogue also noted that it is possible that this loss for Victoria’s Secret will result in a similar lawsuit in the U.S., in hopes of establishing the same result here.
According to Bloomberg, a spokesperson for Thomas Pink said that the company was pleased with the outcome of the case, and would continue to protect its brand. L Brands, which owns Victoria’s Secret, did not respond to requests for comment however.