By Karen Freifeld
NEW YORK, April 16 A New York appeals judge on
Tuesday stopped J.C. Penney from selling certain Martha
Stewart goods in its stores until Thursday, when he is expected
to decide whether to extend the block while an appeal from
Macy's Inc is pending.
The decision, in effect a short-term reprieve for Macy's,
was delivered in a closed hearing but lawyers for both sides
confirmed it to Reuters as they left the courtroom. A trial
judge had ruled on Friday that J.C. Penney could sell the items
for now, as long as they did not bear Stewart's name.
The products were manufactured under the "JCP Everyday"
label after J.C. Penney was barred from selling them under a
Martha Stewart brand last summer.
Justice Richard Andrias in Manhattan put the goods on hold
on Tuesday pending his ruling on a temporary restraining order.
Before the hearing, Theodore Grossman, a lawyer for Macy's,
said he had sought an immediate order after learning the goods
would go on sale in April - not May as J.C. Penney had said
earlier, he said.
Mark Epstein, a lawyer for Penney, disputed that, saying a
witness testified last month that the goods would be available
Macy's claims it has the exclusive right to sell Martha
Stewart goods in certain categories such as bedding, bath and
tableware under a 2006 agreement that lasts through 2018.
The retailer sued both rival Penney and Stewart's company,
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, after they announced a
deal to launch Martha Stewart stores within Penney stores. The
trial resumes Wednesday.
A Macy's spokesman and a J.C. Penney spokeswoman declined
comment on Tuesday.