Trademark Infringement Case Filed against Victoria’s Secret

Hanky Panky Ltd. (Hanky Panky), a Manhattan-based company filed a complaint in the federal court against Victoria’s Secret for possible trademark infringement. Hanky Panky has two registered trademarks in the United States, “After Midnight”, which they acquired in 2010 and “Indulge Your Inner Flirt” which was assumed in 2003.

Victoria’s Secret is offering a collection called “After Midnight” which comprises of a candle, a room spray and more. They are also using an advertisement with a line of sleepwear that reads, “indulge your inner flirt.” Hanky Panky is asking the court to forbid Victoria’s Secret’s use of the trademarks. They are also seeking monetary damages, including recompense for the cost of corrective advertising. No response has been made on the part of Victoria’s Secret regarding this complaint.

Victoria’s Secret has come across such controversies over the name of its collections many times in the past. Victoria’s Secret started its first store in UK in 2012. In the very next year, i.e. May 2013, Thomas Pink, a company that sells high-end shirts, filed suit against Victoria’s Secret alleging that their Pink brand is too close to its own brand and trademarks. Thomas Pink also alleges that customers were likely to be misguided by Victoria’s Secret marketing of its products under the Pink label. The Pink line was launched in 2002 by Victoria’s Secret’s mainly considering teenagers and women in their early twenties.

In response to the suit filed by Thomas Pink, Victoria’s Secret filed a lawsuit in New York, where Thomas Pink also sells high-end shirts and attempted a preliminary judgment recognizing “that the two brands have been in peaceful coexistence for many years.”

Before the Thomas Pink case, in 2003 Victoria’s Secret was involved in a trademark infringement case with Moseley’s who initially had a company called Victor’s Secret. When the Moseley’s were communicated about possible trademark dilution, they changed the name of their store to Victor’s Little Secret, but Victoria’s Secret were not satisfied with it and filed a suit in the District Court for the Western District of Kentucky against it. However, the court declared that a claim of trademark dilution requires actual dilution and not just a probability or likelihood of dilution. This decision of the court overturned when the Federal Trademark Dilution Revision Act was passed in 2006 by the Congress.

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