A Pennsylvania-based clothing manufacturer is suing the US fashion house Calvin Klein Inc. Calvin Clothing Co.Inc. has alleged that the fashion giant and its parent company, Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. is destroying it. Last Friday the company filed a lawsuit in Scranton asking the court to prevent Calvin Klein from using the name "Calvin" and to force Klein and Phillips-Van Heusen to destroy all items bearing that name.

Calvin Clothing claims that the company, which was named for the founder's son in 1939, had never opposed the use of the Calvin Klein name as long as it was never shortened to Calvin. According to the lawsuit, there has been ample evidence of this understanding between the two companies over the years.

The lawsuit stipulates that problems over the similar names reached a climax when Phillips-Van Heusen agreed to purchase Calvin Klein in 2002 for $400 million (GBP217 million) in cash. According to Calvin Clothing, Phillips-Van Heusen wanted to use the Calvin brand to sell boys' tailored clothing and to expand into products similar to those made by Calvin Clothing. Klein's parent company opposed the Calvin Clothing trademark registrations, taking the matter to the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Joseph R. Solfanelli, Calvin Clothing's lawyer, protests that Phillips-Van Heusen is forcing the company out of business or at least pressurising it into an impossible niche market. Meanwhile, Calvin Clothing's annual sales are down from $20 million in 2002 to $14 million. On Monday, Phillips-Van Heusen shares climbed to $26.25, an increase of 19 cents or 0.7%.

 

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