WIESBADEN, GERMANY–Lands’ End lost the second round of an ongoing lawsuit in Germany involving the company's unconditional guarantee for its garments sold anywhere in the world, it was announced at the DIMA show here today.
Local competitors had challenged the guarantee in the German courts citing a 1932 law under which the guarantee could be defined as a separate product given customers for free and, thus, in violation of the law. A lower court ruled for the U.S. cataloger but a higher court ruling — handed down late last month and published last week — overturned the decision. The court held that the company could offer the guarantee but couldn’t advertise it. Lands’ End has appealed to Germany’s highest court.
Pending outcome of the appeal, the U.S. firm still may publicize the guarantee provided the plaintiffs, a private anticompetitive association, doesn’t pay a court-required guarantee.
So far, marketing manager Frank Kriegel, here for the show, said the association has decided to hold off unless Lands’ End takes undefined “provocative” action. With the Christmas catalog set to mail this week, Lands’ End decided to black out the guarantee text on the catalog cover and to include a letter explaining the legal situation.