American Eagle Outfitters Files Lawsuit for Trademark Infringement
Retail Royalty Co. and AE Outfitters Retail Co., the parent company of American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), filed a lawsuit in North Carolina on Thursday against Sunsations, a Virginia-based beach store with locations in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida, according to Triangle Business Journal.
AEO has a trademark on an image of a gray eagle that, according to the suit, Sunsations used on its merchandise.
The suit claims Sunsations agreed—in writing—to stop selling the merchandise, but AEO investigators still were able to buy Outer Banks-themed T-shirts with the gray eagles from stores in North Carolina.
"Due to AEO’s long and continuous use of the flying eagle design, […] the flying eagle design is widely recognized by the public as an indicator of the source of AEO’s goods and services,” the suit explained. “In an effort to exploit AEO’s enormous popularity and goodwill, defendant is selling unauthorized apparel bearing unauthorized copies of AEO’s flying eagle design."
AEO claims that Sunsations has sold the apparel with the infringed trademark since at least 2014, despite receiving AEO’s three cease-and-desist letters in 2014 and 2015.
Due to the irreparable harm the suit alleges the infringement is causing AEO, the company is asking for $2 million in statutory damages and attorneys’ and investigative fees.