By Jonathan Stempel
March 10 Target Corp has been sued by
Swatch Group SA, which accused the second-largest U.S.
discount retailer of illegally selling watches that copy its
In a lawsuit made public on Monday in U.S. District Court in
Manhattan, Swatch, which is known for its plastic namesake
watches, accused Target of infringing its designs for "zebra"
and "multi-color" watches.
Swatch said the quality of Target's watches is "inferior" to
its own, and that their continued sale is likely to confuse
shoppers and damage the Swiss company's sales.
It also said it advised Target of the alleged infringement,
but that the Minneapolis-based company continued its sales.
"By adopting the Zebra Watch trade dress and the Multi-Color
Watch trade dress, defendants are unfairly competing" with
Swatch, the complaint said.
Swatch seeks to stop Target from selling the alleged copies,
recoup profit from prior sales and be awarded money damages.
Target spokesman Evan Lapiska declined to discuss the
lawsuit, but said the retailer's policy is "to respect the
intellectual property rights of others and we expect the same
from our vendors and partners."
Swatch's lawsuit is dated March 7.
Retailers of luxury or well-known products often sue to stop
sales of alleged imitations they believe cost them revenue and
Tiffany & Co sued Costco Wholesale Corp in
February 2013 to halt the largest U.S. warehouse club chain's
sales of what it called counterfeit diamond engagement rings
that bore the Tiffany name.
Swatch is based in Bienne, Switzerland. It also owns
higher-end brands such as Breguet, Longines, Omega and Harry
The case is Swatch AG v. Target Corp et al, U.S. District
Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-01580.