Lands' End Sues Cataloger Over Similar Look

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Lands' End claims that a Massachusetts-based direct marketer's catalog looks too much like Lands' End's corporate catalog, and the mail-order giant is going to court to stop it.

Lands' End filed a lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in Madison, WI, against Quincy, MA-based American Image. Lands' End claims that the spring 2001 American Image Corporate Image Apparel catalog looks too much like the Lands' End book. The similarity between the two catalogs is creating confusion for customers who mistakenly think they are ordering from Lands' End, the lawsuit claims.

Dodgeville, WI-based Lands' End accused American Image of violating the Lands' End trademark and of using false and deceptive practices.

"We have ownership in our creative work such as our corporate sales catalog," said Beverly Holmes, a spokeswoman for Lands' End. "We believe American Image has infringed upon those rights. We spent a lot of time and money to create a unique image for Lands' End and our catalogs, and we must protect that image so that customers clearly understand what company they are shopping from."

The lawsuit states that the cover of American Image's spring 2001 catalog, featuring fabric swatches with corporate logos on a cork background, looks identical to the cover of Lands' End's corporate sales catalog from fall 2000, as well as similar catalogs from 1996 and 1998, according to reports.

The lawsuit also claims that American Image displays its name in plain, white lettering on a blue rectangular label with a horizontal line above the name, just like Lands' End.

The cataloger is seeking a court injunction to prevent American Image from copying Lands' End's style and wants triple damages with interest for profits and punitive damages. Holmes declined to comment on the dollar figure the cataloger is seeking.

Company officials at American Image were not immediately available for comment.

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