–Susan Perera, Attorney

Which brands come to mind when you think of Sears? Craftsman, Kenmore, Lands End? …what about Structure?

During a recent trip to Sears I found myself walking past this Sears sign for its clothing brand, Structure.   I was struck by a memory of the Structure men’s clothing store of the late ‘90s which vanished to be replaced by Express Men.

A bit of research reveals, Limited Brands (which has cultivated multiple store brands including: Express, The Limited, Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Lane Bryant, Lerner New York, and Galyan’s) sold the Structure brand to Sears in 2003 after it re-branded its clothing stores under the Express Men mark.

Oddly, I have been completely unaware of Sears’ ownership of the Structure brand during the past 7 years.   A search of the USPTO, shows two Structure trademarks owned by Sears. One word mark registered in 1989 for men’s and women’s clothing which was assigned to Sears, and a 2006 mark which was registered by Sears for men’s footwear.

Also interesting, for those of us keeping track of the trademarks, is that at least 5 Structure design marks were also assigned to Sears, all of which have been canceled (for failure to file a section 8 declaration).

Structure Sport & Design

Structure Sport & Design

Structure Jeanswear & Design

Structure Authentic Jeanswear & Design

Structure V X XX XXX XL & Design

Another 6 Structure & Design marks were never assigned to Sears and have also gone abandoned or have been canceled.

This makes me wonder, what was the advertising and marketing strategy behind this brand acquisition?   I find it interesting that a company would buy a brand (which from my own completely unscientific, unofficial survey, had quite strong customer good-will) only to let all of the design marks associated with the brand be canceled.

So what do you think of this strategy? And, were you aware of Sears’ ownership of Structure?