In May, London-based shirtmaker Thomas Pink filed a trademark suit in the U.K. against Victoria’s Secret UK Ltd. claiming that the lingerie and clothing retailer’s Pink brand misleads customers. A Thomas Pink spokesperson told British Vogue, “Thomas Pink is determined to protect the considerable investment that has been made into building the world’s luxury leading shirt brand.” Thomas Pink has been in operation since 1984 and is part of the LVMH group of luxury brands.
Victoria’s Secret introduced its Pink line in the United States in 2001. More recently, the company has opened several stand-alone Pink stores around the country. The first two Victoria’s Secret U.K. standalone stores opened more recently (in 2012), including one on Bond Street, which features a separate street entrance for the Pink brand. Victoria’s Secret is owned by Limited Brands, which also operates Bath & Body Works, Henri Bendel, and C.O. Bigelow.
Now Victoria’s Secret has followed the Thomas Pink lawsuit with one of its own on the other side of the Atlantic. Late last month, the company filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against Thomas Pink in U.S. District Court in Ohio, seeking a preliminary judgment recognizing the right of Victoria’s Secret Pink and Thomas Pink “to continue the peaceful coexistence that has been in place for many years” and avoid the “imminent risk a suit on the same grounds in the U.S.”
The two companies sell vastly different products to different audiences: Thomas Pink sells tailored shirts to a mostly male customer base, while the other sells lingerie and loungewear aimed at young women. What do you think the courts will decide?