The legal battle between LVMH-owned brand Thomas Pink and lingerie giant, Victoria's Secret, stemming from VS' "comfy, effortlessly cool" Pink collection, is still pending. However, in the meantime, it appears Victoria's Secret is taking on another similarly-named company, The Pink Store. In an 18-page petition that Victoria's Secret filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in December, the Ohio-based company asks the USPTO to cancel "The Pink Store" trademark. VS alleges that its Pink brand (and the associated $6 billion in sales) can be damaged by The Pink Store mark, as customers may think the two brands are connected.
Turns out, Omaha, Nebraska-based Rebekah Doolitle filed to federally register her trademark, The Pink Store, in 2012 and was awarded the mark (which extends to "On-line retail store services featuring a wide variety of consumer goods of others; Retail store services featuring a wide variety of consumer goods of others; Retail variety stores") in May 2013. Doolitle's online business, which reportedly takes in about $1,000 in profit a month, sells everything from women's accessories to men's ties and pet clothing, but according to Doolitle: "We don't sell bras and panties, or lingerie. We sell candles and journals."
And this is where the problem arises. Not only does Victoria's Secret have "Pink"-related trademarks that extend to lingerie, the brand has trademarks that cover goods that fall in other classes, such as Class 25 (clothing and accessories); Class 3 (fragrances, body and face lotion, shower gel, make-up, etc.); Class 20 (bedding); and Class 35 (the same as Doolitle's mark, which covers retail store and online store services). In addition to the basic trademarks associated with its pink-branded lines, Victoria's Secret alleges in its petition that it currently has other marks, such as “Pink is Life”, “Pink Nation,” and "Love Pink". Thus, the USPTO may find that Doolitle's "We don't sell bras and panties" argument is not enough. We will see.
Doolitle took to her Facebook page (which has 2,577 likes) to share the following message: “My Dear Victoria, The Secret is out, Neither bras nor panties are what pink's all about! Keep 'Pink' on your clothing we don't really mind. But going after our trademark is rude and unkind. So find in your heart this Valentine's Day — if you truly 'Love Pink' make this mess go away.” More to come ...