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Target Accused of Selling Fake

Luxury handbag maker Coach says in a suit that it found a counterfeit purse at the retailer.

October 04, 2006|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Coach Inc. has accused department store operator Target Corp. of selling a fake Coach purse, making the handbag maker the latest luxury company to go to court alleging trademark infringement.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York, Coach alleges that a Target store in Largo, Fla., was selling a counterfeit Coach purse marked with the Coach logo and sporting Coach tags.

Target was advertising the bag as being official Coach merchandise, said Coach spokeswoman Andrea Shaw Resnick. "This is counterfeit," she said. "We got one of the bags, had an engineer look at it, and there's no doubt that this is not official Coach merchandise."

In response, Minneapolis-based Target said in a statement, "The Coach product showcased in our store is authentic and legitimate. The lawsuit is without merit. Target has procedures in place to ensure that we do not sell counterfeit products to our guests."

In its suit, filed Friday, New York-based Coach said it had suffered harm and damage in excess of $1 million as a result of Target's actions. It asked for an injunction to stop Target from selling any items that carry Coach trademarks.

The maker of purses, briefcases and other leather goods also has asked that Target identify the distributors of the alleged counterfeit merchandise, Resnick said.

In June, Italian fashion group Fendi sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in U.S. federal court, accusing the world's largest retailer of selling counterfeit handbags and passing them off as genuine at its Sam's Club warehouse stores.

The suit by Fendi said Wal-Mart had never purchased Fendi products and never asked Fendi whether any of the items bearing its trademark were genuine. At that time, Wal-Mart said it could not comment.

Coach shares rose 38 cents Tuesday to $34.58, and Target gained 99 cents to $56.81.

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