U.S. Judge Orders Punitive Damages Against Liz Claiborne, Lucky Brand Dungarees in Trademark Infringement Judgment

Jun 02, 2010, 12:24 ET from McKool Smith

NEW YORK, June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Law firm McKool Smith today announced that a federal district judge in New York has entered a Final Judgment and Order incorporating a jury verdict and award of punitive damages against Liz Claiborne Inc. (NYSE: LIZ) and its subsidiary Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc. in a hotly-contested trademark infringement dispute with Marcel Fashion Group's "Get Lucky" apparel line.

The Final Judgment, signed by Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, follows the April jury verdict in favor of Marcel Fashion after jurors found that Los Angeles-based Lucky Brand's use of the well-known "Lucky Brand" trademark, as well as its use of "Lucky" and "Get Lucky," infringed Marcel Fashion's GET LUCKY trademark and violated federal unfair competition laws.

"The award of punitive damages in a trademark case is highly unusual and reflects the egregious and reprehensible nature of Lucky Brand's actions" says Ann Schofield Baker, head of McKool Smith's national trademark litigation practice, who led Miami-based Marcel Fashion's trial team.

The jury's verdict and the court's Final Judgment turned the tables on Lucky Brand and Liz Claiborne, which were the parties that originally brought the suit against Marcel Fashion and its licensee, Ally Apparel, for trademark infringement in 2005 over their GET LUCKY line of apparel. The jury cleared the GET LUCKY line of any trademark infringement because Marcel Fashion had used the trademark "GET LUCKY" continuously since 1985, years before Lucky Brand was even formed.

"This is a complete victory for the little guy" says Ezra Mizrachi, President of Marcel Fashion. "Lucky Brand and Liz Claiborne tried to put the GET LUCKY apparel line out of business with this lawsuit, but instead, the jury decided that they are the ones who committed trademark infringement."

Under the terms of the Final Judgment, Liz Claiborne and Lucky Brand must pay $300,000 to Marcel Fashion, which includes a punitive damages award of $280,000, nearly the entire amount of the award.

The punitive damages award follows on the heels of the Court's award of sanctions against Lucky Brand and Liz Claiborne for their repeated and flagrant discovery violations during the litigation. Schofield Baker sums up the case this way: "Lucky Brand brought this suit, but at the end of the day, it breached a prior settlement agreement between the parties, committed trademark infringement and unfair competition by using the Lucky Brand trademark, and was smacked with sanctions and punitive damages. My clients feel completely vindicated and look forward to expanding the GET LUCKY licensing program."

Ms. Schofield Baker was assisted at trial by associate Katherine Thornburgh.

The case is Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc., et al. v. Ally Apparel Resources LLC, et al., No. 1:05-cv-06757.

For more information, contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or bruce@androvett.com, or Roger Cohen at 973-632-4694 rcohen@autokthonous.com.

SOURCE McKool Smith