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Moseley v. V Secret Catalogue, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
537 U.S. 418 (2003)


Facts

Victor and Cathy Moseley (defendants) owned Victor’s Secret, a small retail store engaged in the sale of women’s lingerie. V Secret Catalogue, Inc. (V Secret) (plaintiff) is comprised of affiliated corporations that own the Victoria’s Secret trademark. Victoria’s Secret is a large and reputable retail chain also engaged in the sale of women’s lingerie. In February 1998, the Moseleys advertised the grand opening of their store to residents of a military installation. An army colonel saw the ad and was offended by the Moseleys’ use of a name so similar to Victoria’s Secret. He therefore forwarded the ad to V Secret. V Secret’s attorney contacted the Moseleys, stating that the similarity in the names would likely lead to confusion and would dilute the distinctiveness of Victoria Secret’s mark. The attorney requested that the Moseleys discontinue the use of their name. In response, the Moseleys changed the name of their store to Victor’s Little Secret. Dissatisfied with the change, V Secret brought suit in District Court. The District Court ruled in favor of V Secret. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

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