4 September 2017Trademarks

Versace ‘threats’ lead to complaint from lesser-known Versace licensee

Luxury fashion brand Versace has been sued by fashion company La Moda Italiana which is seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement following “threats and harassment” from Versace.

Filed last week, La Moda’s claim (pdf) described alleged threats by Gianni Versace (the company) and Versace USA to sue La Moda for trademark infringement and disparaging its brand, and also claimed that Versace had threatened La Moda’s vendors.

La Moda said this has led to the company suffering “damage both monetarily and to its business reputation”.

The case centres on a Milan-based company called Versace 1969 Abbligliamento Sportivo, which licenses products to La Moda, including 19V69, 19V69 Italia and V 1969 Italia.

“Versace 1969 Abbligliamento Sportivo of Italy and the defendant Gianni Versace were both founded by Italian gentlemen with the surname,” the complaint read.

“Both companies operate under differing trademarks in the US and throughout the world,” it added.

According to the complaint, the defendants “stated unequivocally” that the mere use of the corporate name Versace 1969 Abbligliamento Sportivo is an infringement of the trademark and related IP rights of the defendants Gianni Versace and Versace USA.

As well as a declaratory judgement, La Moda is also seeking confirmation of tortious interference with business relations as a result of threats of legal action made by the defendants.

Lad Moda claimed Versace contacted, an outlet selling La Moda products, threatening legal action if the alleged infringements were not removed.

“Such threats and harassment on behalf of the defendants are believed to be made for the purpose of intimidating vendors,” the complaint said. allegedly stopped working with La Moda after the threats.

La Moda is now seeking an order saying its mark is not infringing, that Versace has “interfered with prospective and existing business relationships”, an injunction preventing Versace from taking legal action over the mark, attorneys’ fees and damages.

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