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Wal-Mart accused of infringing trademark

April 20, 2007|From Bloomberg News

True Religion Apparel Inc., a maker of $300 jeans worn by celebrities including soccer star David Beckham and actress Angelina Jolie, said Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Sam's Club warehouse chain was illegally selling clothing with its trademark.

The infringing apparel is presented in "a confusingly deceptive manner" and is of "inferior quality," True Religion said in a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles.

Wal-Mart is accused of trademark infringement and unfair competition, according to the filing, which seeks unspecified damages.

The clothing is "priced in such a way that the implication to the buying public is that these items are indeed genuine," True Religion said in its complaint.

The brand of jeans is known for its colorful embroidery and seams. Beckham, who is expected to join the Los Angeles Galaxy in July, and Jolie, star of the "Lara Croft" movies among others, wear True Religion jeans, according to the complaint.

The Los Angeles-based company, started in 2002 by Chief Executive Jeffrey Lubell and his wife, reported $139 million in sales last year, a 36% increase from 2005.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer with $345 billion in annual sales.

Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley said the company hadn't seen the complaint and declined to comment.

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