Washington –The U.S. Supreme Court will decide a trademark case involving lingerie cataloger/retailer Victoria’s Secret and a store called Victor’s Little Secret.
Victoria’s Secret, part of Columbus, OH-based retailer The Limited (NYSE:LTD) is suing the owners of the Elizabethtown, KY-based store, which sells lingerie, sex toys, and adult videos. When owners Victor and Cathy Moseley opened the store in 1998, they called it “Victor’s Secret.” After Victoria’s Secret complained, the owners changed the name to “Victor’s Little Secret.”
Victoria’s Secret went to court, claiming its trademark had been diluted. A federal judge agreed, ruling the store’s name was sufficiently similar to Victoria’s Secret and that it had a “blurring” and “tarnishing effect.” A U.S. appeals court upheld the decision for Victoria’s Secret.
The Supreme Court’s quest is whether trademark dilution requires proof of actual injury to the economic value of a famous mark, as opposed to proof only of a likelihood of dilution, which is what the appeals court found. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case and will rule during its upcoming term begining in October.