On the Naughty List
'Tis the holiday season -- peace on earth, goodwill towards men, and all that. Except in the Northern District of California, where Williams-Sonoma is suing Target for copying various holiday merchandise, including Christmas stockings.
How many ways can one possibly portray Santa on a stocking? Well, apparently quite a few -- none of which necessarily involves red-and-white gingham toes, an "undulating snow scene," and a pale blue sky with a smattering of snowflakes. Williams-Sonoma claims trade dress protection in the design of its Pottery Barn brand stocking, below left, and argues that Target's stocking, below right, constitutes infringement.
So why don't the two home decor titans simply settle and let their lawyers go home to wrap presents? Williams-Sonoma claims that this isn't the first time Target has celebrated a holiday by knocking off its designs (e.g. the Halloween "Scary Tree" votive candle holder, also part of the complaint). In addition, Target is accused of trying to avoid responsibility by demanding indemnification agreements from its vendors -- even though Target itself allegedly controlled the designs.
Sounds like Cupid and the Easter Bunny had better watch their backs.
In the meantime, a word of advice to both Williams-Sonoma and Target from the fashion police: Some things simply shouldn't be copied. Not only because they are protected by intellectual property law, but because they're simply not attractive.
Oh ho, you say -- so what's hanging by Counterfeit Chic's chimney with care? A far more stylish alternative, of course.