Toronto-based apparel company Fairweather Ltd. has filed a $250 million lawsuit in Canadian Federal Court to stop U.S. retailer Target Corporation from using the Target name in Canada. Fairweather, a subsidiary of International Clothiers, Inc., says it has operated a clothing store in Toronto under the name “Target Apparel” since 2005. Fairweather bought the rights to the Target name from a now defunct retail company.
Target recently announced plans to open its first Canadian stores after taking over leases for more than 200 stores operated by Zellers, a subsidiary of Hudson’s Bay Co. The first Canadian Target store is scheduled to open in 2013, with up to 150 more by 2014.
The two companies first clashed over the Target name back in 2001. Then, in 2007, a Canadian Federal Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the Canadian company. Target raised the issue again last year in a court challenge that claimed Fairweather wasn’t using the Target name. Since then, Fairweather has opened Target Apparel stores in both Ontario and British Columbia.
Now the Canadian company has until the end of February to prove that it has used the Target name in the last three years, or had plans to use it, in order to maintain ownership of the trademark. Fairweather almost lost the Target trademark once before when it was inadvertently cancelled in 2005. It was reactivated shortly thereafter. Here’s the current record from Corsearch® Advantage: