Target has become Burberry's latest, well, target, in the luxury brand's tireless fight to protect its iconic check trademark.
The British company filed a lawsuit on May 2 in New York against both Target Corporation and Target Brands, Inc., accusing them of selling a number of products that infringe on Burberry's check trademark. Items include eyewear, luggage, stainless-steel bottles and scarves. As the complaint explains, this was not a one-time occurrence: Burberry claims it sent Target a cease and desist in early 2017.
"Target’s misuse of the Burberry Check Trademark on counterfeit and infringing merchandise has significantly injured Burberry’s hard-earned reputation and goodwill, and has diluted the distinctiveness of the famous Burberry Check Trademark," reads the complaint. Burberry also asserts that Target shoppers are likely to mistakenly believe that the infringing products are actually Burberry or somehow connected to Burberry, adding that Target's "well-publicized history of collaborating with popular brands and fashion designers to promote and sell Target-exclusive limited edition collections further heightens the risk of such consumer confusion."
Burberry seeks an injunction barring Target from selling any infringing products, as well as destroying existing products, and monetary damages of up to $2 million and court costs.
Nearly a century old, Burberry's check trademark has been the cause of many cease-and-desists and lawsuits over the years. The brand takes its design signature very seriously and protects it vigilantly. Over the last couple of decades in particular, the company worked hard to reverse the brand dilution that had resulted both from excessive licensing deals and rampant copying and counterfeits. Reclaiming the pattern as a symbol of Burberry and nothing else became a big priority when Christopher Bailey took the helm and the company hasn't let up since. J.C. Penney and Body Glove are among the other brands that have been on the receiving end of a Burberry check lawsuit.
This most recent suit comes amidst a logo-mania resurgence in fashion that has made Burberry's check all the more relevant and popular. The brand began leaning back into its signature plaid with its spring 2018 collection as well as a recent collaboration with Gosha Rubchinskiy that's in stores now — all the more reason to protect the check.