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JA wins Joseph Abboud injunction
19
Jan '10
JA Apparel Corp., the maker of fine men's clothing and an array of other products, announced that it has for the second time won an injunction reaffirming its ownership of the Joseph Abboud trademark and related intellectual property associated with the valuable Joseph Abboud brand name.

The permanent injunction, handed down by U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz in the Southern District of New York, is the second judicial order that prohibits Mr. Joseph Abboud from infringing on JA Apparel Corp.'s ownership of the Joseph Abboud brand name and trademarks, which Mr. Abboud sold in 2000. The previous order, issued in 2008, was vacated after appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which then remanded the case to Judge Katz for further consideration.

Marty Staff, the President and Chief Executive Officer of JA Apparel Corp, said:

“This is a resounding win and we are extremely pleased. Mr. Joseph Abboud is permanently enjoined from using his name either personally, or through any entity with which he is affiliated, as a brand name for menswear or any other products. His name cannot be on clothes, labels, hang-tags or product packaging. We believe we have accomplished what we set out to do when we filed this lawsuit against Mr. Abboud, and that was to protect the valuable Joseph Abboud brand name for menswear and prevent confusion in the marketplace.

Mr. Staff continued: “We are thrilled with this result from the court. While Mr. Abboud is free to compete in the consumer marketplace, he simply must do so without in any way using JA Apparel's valuable Joseph Abboud brand name. We are hopeful that this ruling ends this case and enables us to focus on continuing our successful efforts to build the Joseph Abboud global lifestyle brand in markets around the world.”

In addition to issuing a permanent injunction, Judge Katz rejected all of Mr. Abboud's counterclaims against JA Apparel and Mr. Staff, finding that there was no merit to any of them and dismissing them with prejudice. Judge Katz also made no change to his previous ruling that Mr. Abboud violated his noncompete agreement with JA Apparel when he launched his new line.

The Case Against Joseph Abboud

JA Apparel sued Mr. Abboud in U.S. District Court in New York in September 2007, contending that Mr. Abboud's widely announced plan to use the slogan “jaz: A New Composition by Joseph Abboud” in marketing his planned new menswear line was a breach of contract and represented trademark infringement that would cause confusion in the marketplace.

Mr. Abboud is no longer affiliated with JA Apparel and he sold all rights to the Joseph Abboud intellectual property in 2000 for $65.5 million. However, Mr. Abboud and his lawyer asserted in media stories about their business plans that they had a right to use the name Joseph Abboud to advertise and promote the planned new line.

In addition, the Company alleged that Mr.Abboud violated the terms of a noncompete agreement that was in effect from 2005 to 2007 with intensive planning for his return to the industry, going so far as to orchestrate a scheme to take control of a shirt factory in Fall River, Mass. before the expiration of his noncompete by disguising his interest in the factory through a nominee owner.

A trial on these issues took place over a six-day period in February and March 2008. In June 2008, Judge Katz issued a 91-page ruling affirming JA Apparel's ownership of the Joseph Abboud brand name and granting a preliminary injunction in favor of the Company.

This injunction was later vacated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals after Mr. Abboud appealed the order.

JA Apparel Corp

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