Lacoste Alligator, S.A., which sells tennis shirts and other apparel with the distinctive green crocodile logo in high-end stores like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, will get a chance to find out, through discovery in a lawsuit, which of its distributors (if any) have been selling its products to Costco and other warehouse stores without its express permission, in violation of its trademark rights and in breach of contract.
Lacoste, a Swiss company, is attempting to prevent its clothing from being sold in big-box and other unauthorized retail locations. The first problem facing Lacoste, however, was that although it believed that some distributor was making sales to those stores, it didn't know who it was. Accordingly, it filed a "John Doe" complaint in Arlington County Circuit Court on trademark-infringement, breach of contract, and other grounds, hoping to use discovery in the case to ferret out the identity of the distributor responsible for the unauthorized sales. After filing the "John Doe" suit, Lacoste promptly served a subpoena on Costco Wholesale Corp., trying to ascertain the source from which it was receiving Lacoste products for resale in its stores. Costco objected to handing over any documents, and Lacoste filed a motion to compel compliance with the subpoena.
Read the rest of the article at the Virginia Business Litigation Lawyer blog
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