Nordstrom Settles Lawsuit With Patagonia Over Allegations of “Obvious Counterfeits”

A year-long lawsuit between retailers Nordstrom and Patagonia has finally been settled, as accusations of counterfeit products fly.

Counterfeit Accusations

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Two big US retailers have spent nearly a year going back-to-back over accusations of counterfeit sales that tread all over a company’s trademark. Last week the lawsuit finally came to a close.

Lawsuit Settled One Year On

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Luxury department store chain Nordstrom and clothing company Patagonia settled the lawsuit on Wednesday, almost exactly a year after Patagonia moved to sue their competitor back in May 2023. 

Described as “Obvious” Copies

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Patagonia accused the brand of selling counterfeit apparel that was described as “obvious” rip-offs of Patagonia, sold under Nordstrom’s sister brand, Nordstrom Rack. 

“Thousands” of Counterfeit Products

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In a suit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Patagonia claimed Nordstrom had sold “thousands of counterfeit Patagonia sweatshirts and t-shirts,” directly profiting from Patagonia’s designs without acknowledging the debt.

A Past Relationship

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The accusations were particularly dicey since Nordstrom was a former “dealer” of Patagonia clothing, selling their items in department stores around the country.

Betraying Their Reputation?

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“Nordstrom holds itself out as a trusted retailer with a strong reputation among its customers,” the Patagonia suit stated. “For many years Nordstrom was an authorized dealer of Patagonia, Inc.’s (‘Patagonia’) apparel, in part because of that reputation.”

What Customers Expect

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“While Nordstrom is no longer an authorized Patagonia dealer, Nordstrom’s customers expect to find genuine Patagonia products at Nordstrom stores, including its Nordstrom Rack stores,” the suit continued. 

Photographic Evidence?

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They supplied photographic images comparing the products sold by Norstrom to similar products created and sold by Patagonia.

Confusing Claims

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These included typographic errors on the labels of the allegedly counterfeit clothes, including misspelled words and contradictory claims that the clothing was made of both 100% polyester and cotton. 

Decades and Millions Invested

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The company also explained the potential impact these counterfeit sales from Nordstrom could have on the Patagonia brand. “Patagonia has spent decades, and invested millions of dollars, to establish product quality and fair labor practices as pillars of its brand.”

“Preying on Patagonia’s Reputation”

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The lawsuit claimed that such products served to “prey on Patagonia’s reputation, misleading customers into buying poor quality products that were, on information and belief, made in factories with conditions that do not meet Fair Trade Certified requirements.”

Copyright and Trademark Infringement

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Patagonia formally accused the department store brand of copyright and trademark infringement and sought both damages for the profits gained from the counterfeit products, and an order to block the counterfeiting. 

An Immediate Block

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This would formally prevent Nordstrom from buying, selling, ordering, and manufacturing products that look too similar to items sold by Patagonia.

“No Knowledge at the Time”

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During a court filing later in 2023 Nordstrom representatives explicitly denied the allegations, claiming “To the extent any of the products at issue were not genuine Patagonia products, Nordstrom had no knowledge of this at the time these products were purchased.”

Ending Their Business Relationship

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The Seattle-based company then brought evidence that it had ended its dealer relationship with the company that had produced the items and agreed to divert all profits to Patagonia. 

The Razaz Group

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The company in question was the Razaz Group, a New Jersey-based vendor who sold the items to Nordstrom. 

Joint Filing for the Settlement

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On Wednesday, in a joint filing between the two companies in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, they confirmed that Nordstrom had agreed to settle the lawsuit. 

“No Admission of Liability for Nordstrom”

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A spokesperson for Nordstrom told reporters “The matter has been settled with no admission of liability for Nordstrom. At Nordstrom, the quality and integrity of our products is our top priority.”

Long-Term Effects

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While Patagonia has now dismissed the lawsuit in the wake of the settlement, it is still unclear how seriously the alleged counterfeit sales have affected the brand. 

50 Years of US Business

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The company has been a major player in the outdoor recreation clothing space and now sells clothing and equipment in more than 10 countries since it first opened in Ventura, California over 50 years ago.

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The post – Nordstrom Settles Lawsuit With Patagonia Over Allegations of “Obvious Counterfeits” – first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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