New York–Laura Buccellati, grandniece of famed jeweler Mario Buccellati, is the target of a lawsuit charging her and her handbag company with trademark infringement and misuse of the Buccellati trademark.
In a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court, Southern Division of New York, Milan-based Buccellati Inc. accuses Laura Buccellati and Lilian Azel, co-founders of Laura Buccellati LLC, a Miami-based handbag collection, of deliberately “capitalizing on the popularity of the Buccellati trademarks,” an alleged violation of the Lanham Act.
Slogan ‘Jewel of a Bag’ Suggests Link to Famed Jeweler?
Buccellati asked the court for an injunction preventing Laura Buccellati from using the Buccellati name, to return all her company’s products bearing “Buccellati,” even to revoke her website domain, laurabuccellati.com–in effect, removing any association with Buccellati from Laura Buccellati’s business.
The Italian jewelry company also seeks unspecified damages and court costs.
Citing marketing materials from Laura Buccellati, the lawsuit claims her company referred to the “Buccellati legacy” and she “uses the slogan ‘Jewel of a Bag’ to suggest a relationship between her products and Buccellati’s famed jewelry.”
Laura Buccellati, who introduced her namesake collection of exotic skin handbags and leather goods in 2009, told Accessories on Tuesday, “We have been informed that certain documents have been filed in a New York court concerning our company Laura Buccellati, LLC. We have not yet had the opportunity to review the documents and therefore have no comment at this time.”
According to the lawsuit, Laura Buccellati, a descendant of Buccellati’s founding family, sold her interest in the family company in 1989, but she and Azel continue to use Buccellati trademarks to promote her products despite warnings that use of her last name violates the family’s trademarks.
The Italian jewelry company also claims that when Laura Buccellati tried to register her name as a trademark in the United States, her petition was refused because her trademark “is likely to be confused with the world famous Buccellati trademarks.”
Laura Buccellati has been appealing that decision, which is pending before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
On her website, Laura Buccellati credits her interest in handbags from her grandmother.
“My current collection consists of prized items owned by my grandmother. With a few dating back to the 1920s, I remember my grandmother dressing them up for luncheons to a night out on the town. I refer to them as forever bags, as they have no apparent signs of being worn,” Laura Buccellati wrote.