A Manhattan designer of stuffed animals on Thursday sued Ralph Lauren Corp, accusing it of creating an illegal market for stuffed teddy bears resembling her own. Samantha Goldberg said Ralph Lauren since 2001 has been selling teddy bears handmade from imported Scottish cashmere by her company, Alvin & Sparky LLC. She said her "Big Teddy" retails for $195, while "Little Teddy" sells for $170. But Goldberg said she learned around September 2013 that Ralph Lauren had begun selling "substantially identical," non-cashmere knockoffs at a fraction of the price, typically $24.50 to $49.50.
Goldberg said Ralph Lauren sells the knockoffs in its own stores, online and through such retailers as Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue, and has also marketed a cashmere top and pant set for baby boys featuring her bear design, and costing $295. Moreover, she alleges that her stuffed animals are also sold by Harrods of London, and that she never gave permission for Manhattan-based Ralph Lauren to copy her designs. She is seeking damages and a halt to the alleged copyright infringement.
Ralph Lauren did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Goldberg was not immediately available for comment.