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A&H Sportswear, Inc. v. Victoria’s Secret Stores, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
237 F.3d 198 (2000)


Facts

A&H Sportswear, Inc. (A&H) (plaintiff) was a major swimwear producer. A&H created a line of swimsuits called “Miraclesuit” swimwear. A&H registered the mark “Miraclesuit.” Victoria’s Secret Stores, Inc. (Victoria’s Secret) (defendant) was a major lingerie manufacturer with a lingerie line called “The Miracle Bra.” Victoria’s Secret later introduced a swimwear line under the name “The Miracle Bra.” Victoria’s Secret had a housemark, which was Victoria’s Secret’s general manufacturing mark for all its products. The Miracle Bra swimwear included both: (1) the Victoria’s Secret’s housemark next to The Miracle Bra mark and (2) a disclaimer stating that The Miracle Bra swimwear was unrelated to the Miraclesuit. A&H sued Victoria’s Secret for trademark infringement, alleging: (1) direct confusion for consumers who incorrectly believed that A&H was the source of The Miracle Bra swimwear; and (2) reverse confusion for consumers incorrectly believed that Victoria’s Secret was the source of A&H’s Miraclesuit. The district court ruled for Victoria’s Secret on the direct-confusion claim, finding that Victoria’s Secret’s use of the disclaimer in conjunction with its The Miracle Bra swimwear mark weighed against a likelihood of direct confusion. The court dismissed the reverse-confusion claim, holding that reverse confusion is not a distinct basis for a claim under the Lanham Act. A&H appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Becker, C.J.)

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