Swiss Watch Brand Claims Knock Off by Hilfiger, Movado

An example of Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak watch

An example of Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak watch

Tommy Hilfiger Eton watch made by Movado Group

Tommy Hilfiger Eton watch made by Movado Group

New York—Audemars Piguet, a 140-year-old high-end Swiss watchmaker, is charging Movado Group  and Tommy Hilfiger USA with knocking off one of its iconic watch styles.

In a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in New York, Audemars claims the design of Hilfiger’s Eton watch, which was introduced earlier this summer, resembles too closely that of Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak, a watch that retails upward of $10,000. The Hilfiger watch, which retails for about $179, is produced and marketed under a license agreement with Movado.

“Defendants have misappropriated this famous design by producing a very close imitation. Despite repeated protests by plaintiffs, defendants continue to flood the market with their inexpensive imitations, whose close design clearly suggests an intent to trade off plaintiffs’ goodwill,” Audemars Piguet told the court.

Too Close for Comfort?

Specifically, Audemars Piguet maintains that the defendants copied the Royal Oak’s octagonal bezel with screws, the decorative texture on the dial and the hexagonal shape of the crown.

“The public has come to recognize this design as distinctive of this line of Audemars Piguet watches and as an indication of the source of such watches,” said the suit. The Swiss company claims that infringes on two of their trademarks for the Royal Oak as well as causes a “trade dress dilution.”

Besides seeking an injunction to bar the offending watches, Audemars Piguet seeks damages triple the profit that has been made off the watches in question. And for all catalogs, sales circulars, advertising  and other collateral to be destroyed.

So far, Movado Group and Tommy Hilfiger have yet to respond to the allegations.

 

 

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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com