Target hit with beaded-bird lawsuit

The retailer is being sued on claims that it copied Minnetonka's 'Thunderbird' design.

By Benzinga Oct 1, 2012 4:47PM
Target store in San Bruno, California /Justin Sullivan/Getty Images By Katey Stapleton

As frigid weather sets in throughout the U.S., warm and comfy apparel becomes a necessity. Retail giant Target (TGT) is rolling out boots and slippers for the season, but may have to rethink a certain pair of shoes after getting slapped with a lawsuit from Minnetonka Moccasins.

According to The Huffington Post, Minnetonka believes Target snagged its "Thunderbird" design when it placed a beaded bird on the toe of similar looking shoes. Court documents reveal that Target once tapped Minnetonka to begin selling the brand in stores, which the moccasin maker clearly rejected.

Minnetonka, known for its celebrity clientele and reliable footwear, sells signature moccasins for higher prices than Target customers are likely willing to pay. Target sells several competing moccasin styles for around $20 a pair -- about half the price of the Minnetonka version. The exact pair Minnetonka is suing the company for could not be found in a quick browse of the website, suggesting that Target has since removed the questionable item.

This isn't the first time Target has come under fire for knockoff products. The company is currently being sued by Estee Lauder (EL) in Australia for allegedly selling M•A•C Cosmetic rip-offs.

"Target is aware of the allegations raised regarding the authenticity of the M•A•C products sold in our stores and is currently investigating, including further testing of the products by our supplier," Target's statement reads. "Before going on sale in our stores and online, the product was tested by our supplier, who provided assurance it was genuine."

Target, along with Apple (AAPL), was sued back in April by an individual claiming both of the retailers infringed on his ribbed computer case patent.

As Target continues to fight battles in the courtroom, the retailer is expected to see better trends in the coming month than it had experienced in September. According to Piper Jaffray, apparel pricing declined 4.2% throughout September, which was the first year-over-year decline since November 2010. However, lower numbers and going up against 2011's warm winter leave room for improvement this year.

Target closed Monday down less than 1% to $62.99.

Oct 2, 2012 9:54AM
What a terrible article. Target Australia and the US Target have no relation to each other!
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