Balenciaga sues Steven Madden, alleging 'motorcycle bag' copy

May 22 (Reuters) - 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 said.

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 Benkoe)