Monday, July 21, 2014

Party Candy Party Over?



On October 18, 2013, Prada S.A. took Preferred Fragrance, Inc. to Federal court, charging that PF’s Party Candy fragrance infringed on Prada’s trademark for Prada Candy. We noted the lawsuit as part of our ongoing coverage of the Preferred Fragrance corporate saga: a tale awash in colorful characters, knockoff fragrances, and dubious dealings. (If you know where to look, Federal court filings offer great entertainment value.)

As we remarked at the time, Preferred Fragrance has plenty of experience defending itself against trademark infringement claims and could conceivable fight Prada to a draw, namely a settlement involving something less than a court-ordered destruction of existing product, disgorgement of profits, and treble damages.

Prompted by the recent settlement reached by PF in a similar lawsuit with Victoria’s Secret and BBW, we revisited the docket in the Prada/Party Candy case to find out: What happens after a case like this disappears from the headlines?

First, the case was assigned to Ronnie Abrams, a Federal District Judge for the Southern District of New York. She ordered both sides to appear at an initial conference on January 4, 2014. Shortly before the hearing, the plaintiffs (Prada) asked that the conference be pushed back a month and the judge agreed. This happened again and yet again. (In our view, unsullied by any formal legal education, the delays were presumably requested and granted because the two sides were engaged in settlement discussions.)

When the Prada side asked for a fourth adjournment, Judge Abrams held firm and kept to the then-current April 8 date. Three days later, however, she moved the hearing to May 2 and ordered that the required filings be submitted by April 25. Two days before that filing deadline, Prada’s attorneys filed a notice of voluntary dismissal, telling the court they had reached a settlement with PF and would permanently drop the claims against them.

And so another trademark infringement case ends not with a bang but a whimper. Elapsed time from start to finish: just over six months. Did Prada get PF to stop making and selling Party Candy? Who knows. (A 3rd party is still listing it on Amazon.) Did they get monetary damages from PF? Did they go home empty handed? Would they like to comment here on FN?

2 comments:

Alex said...

Thanks for this interesting update. Too bad the companies do not post this kind of info publicly.

Avery Gilbert said...

Alex:

Agree. Would be useful to know that the case is settled. Perhaps both sides are under double secret probation and can't even acknowledge the existence of a settlement.