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Patagonia sues Nordstrom, claiming counterfeit sales at Rack



The brand alleges "counterfeiting, trademark infringement, unfair competition, dilution, and copyright infringement,"
Patagonia - unsplash

Outdoor brand Patagonia has initiated legal action against the American retailer Nordstrom. The company accuses it of intentionally selling counterfeit products in Nordstrom Rack stores. The case involves thousands of counterfeit sweatshirts and T-shirts, according to the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division in Los Angeles. 

The brand alleges "counterfeiting, trademark infringement, unfair competition, dilution, and copyright infringement," per court documents. The retailer has already recalled merchandise from stores to avoid prosecution by the manufacturer. The court filings noted that Patagonia seeks to protect its trademarks and brand. The company has previously sued Gap over the design of fleece pullovers. 

“The brand is very protective of its intellectual property as it puts in enormous efforts to create good quality products that are made sustainably,” GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders said by email. “Most retailers know this so should take care when dealing with the brand.”

Patagonia discovered counterfeit products in Nordstrom department stores after it officially stopped selling its products in stores of the retail chain. It is noted that the retailer may have supplied counterfeit products to improve the range and attract new customers to Rack stores. 

Off-price retailers sell “a jumble of products,” including older designs and private labels, but “offering counterfeit items is still a no-no,” Saunders said.

“Not only does this potentially breach trademark and various other laws, it can severely erode customer trust,” he said. “While it can be difficult for off-price players to check all merchandise, it is still the job of buyers to do this. This seems to be a mistake on Nordstrom Rack’s part and could be part and parcel of it taking its eye off the ball in terms of merchandising and buying.”

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