Now I do not mean to tell you that you should return an authentic Longchamp bag from the shops in Paris or the famous bags sold in boutiques stateside.
But, if your sweetheart bought you a bag from Bed Bath & Beyond (“BBB”) you may have a bag manufactured in China by Capelli New York or another entity. The week before Valentine’s Day, S.A.S. Jean Cassegrain located in my favorite city in the world—Paris—filed suit along with its stateside counterpart Longchamp USA, Inc. against BBB and two other entities. The Longchamp makers alleged that BBB has knocked off its famous bag. The Longchamp makers claim the style 1623 products (example shown here) have become distinctive and acquired secondary meaning allowing it trademark protection.
Handbags have long been a fertile ground for trademark protection. For example, Chanel, Coach and Burberry have trademarks for marks associated with their distinctive purses and accessories.
The Kelly bag named after Princess Grace Kelly was all the rage in the Thirties. The bag shot up in popularity when the iconic picture where she attempted to cover her baby bump with the Hermės Kelly Bag hit the papers.
In the lawsuit filed last week, the Longchamp makers brought additional claims against BBB including patent infringement claim, false designation of origin, and common law competition. BBB and the others will serve their answer in a couple of weeks.