* Burberry alleges TJX mimicked familiar "check" pattern
* Burberry alleges TJX tried to profit at its expense
* TJX says not trying to fool customers
(Adds TJX comment)
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, March 10 Burberry Group Plc (BRBY.L),
a maker of luxury apparel, scarves and handbags, has sued TJX
Cos (TJX.N), accusing the operator of the off-price TJ Maxx,
Marshalls and HomeGoods stores of selling counterfeit goods.
The trademark lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court
on March 3, the same week the handbag and briefcase maker Coach
Inc (COH.N) filed a similar complaint against discount retailer
Kmart Corp, a unit of Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O).
Luxury goods companies are protective of their trademarks,
fearing that misuse will damage their reputation, confuse
consumers and reduce sales.
Burberry is perhaps best known for what it calls its
"Burberry Check" trademark, a cross-hatched design typically
using camel, red, black and white colors.
The British retailer said its trademarks "have become
famous and serve to symbolize Burberry and its reputation as a
manufacturer of high-quality luxury brand products."
In its lawsuit, Burberry accused TJX of selling various
trademark-infringing products such as jackets, picture frames,
polo shirts, scarves and luggage, over the past four years.
By selling counterfeit goods, Burberry said, TJX stores are
trying "to attract their target customer base and profit at
In a statement, TJX spokeswoman Sherry Lang said the
Framingham, Massachusetts-based company was "disappointed" by
Burberry's claims, and that it has "not attempted to fool
anyone" into believing they were buying Burberry products. She
said TJX is contacting vendors who sold it the goods at issue.
TJX has been ramping up its upscale offerings, including
such brands as 7 For All Mankind and Tahari, putting it into
more direct competition with such retailers as Macy's Inc (M.N)
and Saks Inc SKS.N.
Burberry seeks to halt the sale of infringing products, the
destruction of unauthorized products, a requirement that TJX
make "corrective advertisements," triple damages and other
The case is Burberry Ltd v. The TJX Companies Inc, U.S.
District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-01711.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; additional reporting by Phil
Wahba; editing by John Wallace and Andre Grenon)