MINNEAPOLIS -- One of the nation's trendiest home furnishings retailers has accused Target Corp. of systematically copying its designs on a range of products, from Christmas stockings to votive candleholders.
The lawsuit suggests Target hides behind its vendors, insisting they indemnify the corporation from such lawsuits, at the same time it specifies precisely what products look like.
Copyright infringement lawsuits among retailers and designers have become more frequent in recent years, as competition for the shoppers' wallet intensifies and mainstream retailers attempt to up their style quotient. Many of these lawsuits are dismissed or quietly settled.
Williams-Sonoma Inc., which operates Pottery Barn and other chains, claims in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday that a quilted Christmas stocking sold at Target stores contains "every distinctive element of Pottery Barn Christmas stockings," right down to the snowflakes and blue sky.
More pointedly, the company says the stocking infringement is part of a "longstanding pattern of copying by Target of (Williams-Sonoma) designs for rugs, linens, tableware, furniture, lamps and other products."