Swatch Sues Target Over Watch Designs

Image: Swatch watches in a Swatch store in Bern
Swatch is suing Target, saying the U.S. retailer is selling watches that illegally copy those sold by the Swiss company. Here, Swatch watches are pictured in a Swatch store in Bern in 2013.PASCAL LAUENER / Reuters

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/ Source: Reuters

Swatch Group SA is suing Target Corp., accusing the second-largest U.S. discount retailer of illegally selling watches that copy its own.

Swatch is suing Target, saying the U.S. retailer is selling watches that illegally copy those sold by the Swiss company. Here, Swatch watches are pictured in a Swatch store in Bern in 2013.PASCAL LAUENER / Reuters

In a lawsuit made public Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Swatch, which is known for its plastic namesake watches, accused Target of infringing its designs for "zebra" and "multi-color" watches.

Swatch said the quality of Target's watches is "inferior" to its own, and that their continued sale is likely to confuse shoppers and damage the Swiss company's sales. It also said it advised Target of the alleged infringement, but that the Minneapolis-based company continued its sales.

Swatch seeks to stop Target from selling the alleged copies, recoup profit from prior sales and be awarded money damages.

Target spokesman Evan Lapiska declined to discuss the lawsuit, but said the retailer's policy is "to respect the intellectual property rights of others and we expect the same from our vendors and partners."

Swatch's lawsuit is dated March 7.

Retailers of luxury or well-known products often sue to stop sales of alleged imitations they believe cost them revenue and customer goodwill.

Tiffany & Co sued Costco Wholesale Corp. in February 2013 to halt the largest U.S. warehouse club chain's sales of what it called counterfeit diamond engagement rings that bore the Tiffany name.