NEW YORK – A Sports Illustrated swimsuit model was blocked from launching a line of women's underwear called "SEXY LITTLE THINGS" when a judge ruled that Victoria's Secret could sue her for trademark infringement.
U.S. District Judge Harold Baer said Tuesday that Victoria's Secret appeared to acquire priority in the trademark use of "SEXY LITTLE THINGS" because it had used the label on lingerie sold online and through its retail stores and catalogues since July 28, 2004.
The judge refused a request by fashion model and actress Audrey Quock to declare that Victoria's Secret had no right to stop her from launching the line.
Quock appeared in the sports magazine's annual swimsuit issue between 1998 and 2003 and has been featured in other magazines and advertising campaigns.
She and publicist Ronit Menashe said in a lawsuit in the Manhattan court that they came up with the term "SEXY LITTLE THING, SEXY LITTLE THINGS" in July or August 2004 and registered a domain name to build a Web site.
After sending a manufacturer diagrams for the production of "SEXY LITTLE THINGS" labels and preparing publicity, the pair received a letter from Victoria's Secret telling them their line would constitute trademark infringement.
The women then stopped development of the clothing line and sought relief in court, saying no one had registered the trademark when they checked with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in September 2004.
The judge ruled after hearing evidence that the Victoria's Secret marketing department settled on the name "SEXY LITTLE THINGS" for its panties collection between March 2004 and June 2004.
Lawyers for Victoria's Secret and Quock did not immediately return calls for comment Tuesday.