May 22 Balenciaga, the Paris fashion house, has
sued Steven Madden Ltd, accusing the footwear and
accessories maker of trademark violations by copying the styling
of its best-known handbag, known as a "motorcycle bag."
Balenciaga, a unit of Kering SA, called Steve
Madden's product a "studied copy" of the motorcycle bag launched
in 2000, featuring identical or nearly identical shapes and
design elements but sold at a significantly lower price.
Such sales can confuse customers, create a false impression
that Steven Madden's products are Balenciaga's, and hurt the
French company's goodwill, reputation and sales, the lawsuit
Balenciaga's products have been worn by celebrities like
Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue and Kate Moss.
The lawsuit seeks a halt to the alleged infringing sales and
the recoupment of lost profits. The lawsuit was made public on
Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Steven Madden
is based in the Long Island City section of New York City.
A spokeswoman for Steven Madden did not immediately respond
to a request for comment.
Luxury and other higher-end companies often sue to prevent
imitators from hurting their revenues and customer goodwill.
The case is Balenciaga v. Steven Madden Ltd et al, U.S.
District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-03627.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in Toronto; Editing by Jeffrey