Tuesday, August 26, 2003

What's the buzz?

Abercrombie tries to catch 22

Associated Press

Abercrombie & Fitch says its Hollister stores own the number 22.

The New Albany, Ohio-based company has sued rival retailer American Eagle Outfitters, seeking to prevent it from using the number on its clothing.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus asks a judge to order American Eagle to stop using 22 - or anything similar - on its clothing and advertising, destroy any clothes or ads the use the number and pay Hollister for any profits from those items.

Hollister says it owns the number 22 because it has appeared on the chain's clothing since it opened three years ago.

Hollister never registered a trademark on the number, but the company claims common-law rights to the trademark because the number is used on Hollister's merchandise, packaging and Web site.

American Eagle is based in Warrendale, Pa., but its majority owner is Columbus-based Schottenstein Stores Corp.

A federal court has ruled at least three times in four years that Abercrombie can't prevent American Eagle from selling clothes that look like Abercombie's.

American Eagle called the No. 22 lawsuit frivolous in a letter to Hollister, saying Hollister uses several numbers on its apparel and therefore can't claim a trademark on any of them.

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