We created The Closing Bell last spring after we figured out staffers, contributors and insiders were sitting on too many scoops that couldn’t wait for the Monday Business Briefing. Since then, we’ve scooped too many big stories to count.
This week we’ve got a bevy of cool stories. These include one surprisingly sexy lawsuit, if that’s even possible, a beloved hardware store on the block, and a big acquisition in the consumer consumables space.
Victoria’s Secret suing CafePress for copyright violation
As far as lawsuits go this is one of the sexier ones, quite literally. It involves claims from lingerie-kingpin Victoria’s Secret that Louisville’s CafePress infringed on its copyrights and trademarks. CafePress operates an online print-on-demand service through which customers buy products with custom graphics.
Victoria’s Secret filed the civil suit Dec. 11, in the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division.
Victoria’s Secret alleges CafePress promoted, sold and shipped items that infringed upon its trademarks and designs. By so doing, the suit alleges, CafePress unfairly competes with Victoria’s Secret and violates their rights.
Specifically, Victoria’s Secret alleges the CafePress site identifies its “most popular ‘Victoria’s Secret’ products,” and that some designs promoted in the search results on the CafePress site also infringe upon its designs. The lawsuit’s exhibits contain examples of CafePress using Victoria’s Secret to sell goods:
Now Victoria’s Secret demands a full accounting from CafePress of gross revenues related to these sales and total profits generated. It also demands CafePress pay it all profits made from these sales. It also has one more charge that could be heavy for CafePress: “That, if Plaintiff so elects, Defendant be directed to pay Plaintiff statutory damages in an amount not to exceed Two Million Dollars per counterfeit mark per type of goods sold, offered for sale, or distributed by Defendant.”
According to the summons, CafePress has 60 days to answer the complaint.
In response to an IL request for comment, CafePress issued this statement: “While we have not been contacted by Victoria’s Secret about their allegations, we are aware of the recent suit. We cannot comment on pending litigation, but believe this suit to be without merit and will defend CafePress vigorously. CafePress is an e-commerce service that enables third-party users to post images and sell products online. We operate our service in compliance with applicable laws, including all relevant intellectual property laws, and will respond to the allegations accordingly.”
CafePress recently made the news at IL for printing and selling items that appeared to promote sexual violence, including on items for children.
For what it’s worth, IL went on the CafePress site and couldn’t find any Victoria’s Secret items. It also looks like the kid-related items mentioned above are now gone.