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Ralph Lauren Can Pursue Contempt Claim Over Polo Player Logo

A Manhattan federal judge said Ralph Lauren Corp may try to hold the U.S. Polo Association in contempt for using a logo that resembles its iconic polo player logo, but put the case on hold for a related arbitration.
By
  • Reuters

NEW YORK, United States — A Manhattan federal judge said Ralph Lauren Corp may try to hold the U.S. Polo Association in contempt for using a logo that resembles its iconic polo player logo, but put the case on hold for a related arbitration.

In a decision made public on Monday, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan said Ralph Lauren could pursue claims that the "double horsemen" logo used to advertise USPA retail stores, including in New York's Times Square, and online stores was too similar to Ralph Lauren's logo of a polo player atop a horse.

Sullivan said the USPA's depictions, which Ralph Lauren said appear to make the two horsemen blur together, "certainly appear to be the very mark" prohibited under a 2005 jury verdict and 2012 injunction.

But Sullivan stayed the case while an arbitrator decides whether Ralph Lauren's claims should be arbitrated, saying the case would be "greatly simplified" following arbitration. The decision is dated March 27.

Lawyers for Ralph Lauren and the USPA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sullivan's decision is the latest installment in litigation that began in 1984 between the parties over their logos.

Separately on Monday, Indian textile company Arvind Ltd said it would pay Ralph Lauren $3.2 million to settle a lawsuit claiming it sold USPA products in India that lacked hangtags showing that Polo Ralph Lauren had nothing to do with the products. Arvind did not admit wrongdoing.

The case is PRL USA Holdings Inc v. United States Polo Association Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-00764.

By: Jonathan Stempel and Nivedita Bhattacharjee; editor: Christian Plumb.

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