Orvis To Sue Dunn’s Over Alleged Copycat Catalog

Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery for outdoor sporting gear and apparel cataloger Orvis. The Manchester, VT-based cataloger told CATALOG AGE that it intends to sue rival Dunn’s for trademark and trade dress infringement after the Grand Island, NE-based company last fall mailed what Orvis believes is a dead ringer for its Sporting Tradition catalog.

Orvis president/CEO Perk Perkins says that the Dunn’s hunting catalog hadn’t mailed since Sidney, NE-based outdoor sporting goods cataloger Cabela’s bought it a few years ago. The new Dunn’s Traditions book, which mailed in August, copied several hunting products, photo stylings in its catalog, as well as the overall creative from The Sporting Tradition title, Orvis claims — not to mention the use of the word “tradition” itself. “It’s pretty common practice for one company to be inspired by another company’s product or catalog design,” Perkins says. “But this was a wholesale copying of product design imagery. And it’s illegal for a company of Cabela’s stature to be doing something like that, which is really ridiculous.”

In a Feb. 2 letter from Orvis’s lawyer Tom Young to Cabela’s, Orvis demanded that Dunn’s immediately cease and desist the production and distribution of the catalog and revise its Website. On Feb. 25, Debra Stanek, a lawyer with the Chicago-based firm Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, replied on behalf of Cabela’s. The letter, according to Orvis’s Perkins, who received it on March 3, addressed each of Orvis’s points regarding the catalog, but didn’t admit any wrongdoing. The letter stated, “We disagree that Dunn’s catalog in any way infringes on your client’s rights.” Reacting to the letter, Perkins says: “There were no assertions in the response that Dunn’s will alter its design. So we intend to pursue the lawsuit vigorously.”

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