Sears accuses Canada Goose of bullying
Jackets hang at the factory of Canada Goose Inc. in Toronto on Thursday, November 28, 2013. Canada Goose is trying to "bully" Sears Canada Inc. and other retailers through litigation, Sears is alleging in court documents as it hits back at a trademark infringement lawsuit. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
TORONTO - Canada Goose is trying to "bully" Sears Canada Inc. (TSX:SCC) and other retailers through litigation, Sears is alleging in court documents as it hits back at a trademark infringement lawsuit.
The parka maker's real motive is to curtail the sales of lower-priced winter jackets so Canada Goose can keep selling its products "at a huge mark up," Sears alleges.
Canada Goose alleges in a lawsuit filed late last year that Sears is selling knock-offs of its highly distinctive coats.
The department store has now filed its statement of defence in Federal Court and is taking direct aim not just at this particular lawsuit, but what the retailer calls Canada Goose's "campaign of intimidation."
Canada Goose is trying to claim the exclusive right to sell any winter coat with a fur collar "of any sort" or with a circular logo on its sleeve, Sears alleges in its statement of defence.
"Canada Goose is simply attempting to bully Sears and others through demands, unfounded litigation, statements in the press and the like, into ceasing activities that Canada Goose knows do not cause confusion or any harm to it," Sears alleges.
"The real purpose of Canada Goose's campaign of intimidation is to attempt to prevent or lessen sales in the marketplace of less expensive winter jackets...to preserve its temporary ability to sell its garments at a huge mark up to the public."
Neither Sears' nor Canada Goose's allegations have been proven in court.
Canada Goose alleges that Sears is intentionally trying to mislead consumers into believing they're buying a "lower-end" Canada Goose jacket, the parka maker alleges in its lawsuit.
In its statement of defence, Sears says no consumer could confuse a Canada Goose jacket with Sears' Alpinetek coats. Sears has held a trademark for the Alpinetek logo since 1998, Sears wrote in its defence.
Canada Goose has no exclusive rights to a circular logo positioned on the upper sleeve of a winter jacket, Sears alleges, saying it is commonplace for coats.
Canada Goose's rights, if any, are to the name and mark Canada Goose and not in such features as a circular logo and fur trim, Sears alleges.
Canada Goose has previously sued International Clothiers Inc., alleging it intentionally designed a logo and positioned it on jackets to mimic the Canada Goose Arctic Program design trademark.
The lawsuit was later settled on undisclosed terms.
Canada Goose bills itself in the lawsuit as a "Canadian success story," as its jackets have become very well-known in Canada and abroad.