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Burberry Target ‘check’ trademarks

Burberry has filed a claim against US retail giant Target for infringement of its famous ‘check’ trademarks.

Although the claim was only filed last week, the dispute dates back to 2017 when Target launched various ranges of sunglasses, water flasks, luggage and (most importantly) scarves in check patterns. Burberry considered these items to be infringing on their trademarks, and sent a cease and desist letter.

Clearly the pre-action correspondence has not had the desired effect, as formal proceedings have now begun.

The claim states that the Target scarves are indistinguishable from Burberry’s own at a superficial level. It continues that Target has continued to sell the allegedly infringing scarves despite having its attention drawn to the infringement by the cease and desist letter.

Burberry claims that Target’s activities have caused damage to the integrity of the trademarks, and financial damage to Burberry by diluting its goodwill. Part of this is the diminution of exclusivity in the minds of the consuming public. The allegation as to confusion is that consumers have been caused to believe that either the products are genuine Burberry ones, or that the products are in some way endorsed or authorised by Burberry to be sold by Target.

Weight is added to risk of confusion as Target has a long history of collaborating with high-fashion brands to bring items usually out of the budget of the ordinary consumer to the high street market. Target has previously collaborated with Missoni, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Alexander McQueen.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.