Tommy Hilfiger Licensing, Inc. v. Nature Labs, LLC

221 F. Supp. 2d 410 (2002)

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Tommy Hilfiger Licensing, Inc. v. Nature Labs, LLC

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
221 F. Supp. 2d 410 (2002)

  • Written by Ann Wooster, JD

Facts

Tommy Hilfiger Licensing, Inc. (Hilfiger) (plaintiff) owned the world-famous, federally registered trademarks for “TOMMY HILFIGER” and a flag design made of red, white, and blue geometric shapes. Hilfiger used both of these trademarks in the sale of its high-end fragrances. Nature Labs, LLC (Nature) (defendant) was the manufacturer of pet perfumes with names that parodied elegant human perfume brands. Nature first spoofed Hilfiger with a pet perfume called Tommy Holedigger sold in a bottle with a flag-shaped label made of red, white, and blue geometric shapes. Hilfiger notified Nature that this product infringed its trademarks. Nature changed its pet perfume name to Timmy Holedigger and changed the bottle label. The new label logo displayed side-by-side, inverted yellow and red triangles, and a blue stripe with white letters on the top and bottom. Nature created another version of the pet perfume label logo that changed the original flag shape to a bone with red and yellow triangles and a wide blue border. Hilfiger filed suit in the district court against Nature, claiming trademark infringement in violation of the Lanham Trade-Mark Act. Nature argued that there was no likelihood of confusion because the pet perfume was an obvious parody of the Hilfiger trademarks. Nature noted that no other company had accused Nature of trademark infringement regarding its parodied human perfume brands. Nature claimed that even if there were some consumer confusion created by the pet-perfume names and bottle-label logos, the parodies were a form of expression protected under the First Amendment. Nature moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mukasey, J.)

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