Victoria’s Secret Loses U.K. Trademark Infringement Battle

London-based retailer wins 'pink' case

Victoria's Secret can no longer promote its Pink line in Europe after a United Kingdom court ruled the brand infringes on trademarks owned by the London-based clothier Thomas Pink. 

While not affecting Victoria Secret's U.S. practices, the ruling will threaten the lingerie company's attempt to expand its presence in the U.K., according to a Bloomberg report. Judge Colin Birss' decision stated that the "sexy, mass-market appeal" of Victoria's Secret would be a "detriment to the repute" of Thomas Pink, a traditional designer of shirts and formal wear. 

Victoria's Secret introduced its Pink clothing line in 2004 to specifically target "college girls" with its vibrant T-shirts, swimsuits and lingerie for younger customers. At the trial, Victoria's Secret had mentioned that its customer base of young women would not likely shop at Thomas Pink; however representatives of Thomas Pink, whose flagship store is in London, claimed the lingerie company's use of the word "pink" was too similar. 

The judge agreed with the formal wear company, stating "consumers are likely to enter one of the claimant's shops looking for lingerie and be surprised and disappointed when they find they have made a mistake," per Bloomberg.

The business publication also noted that L Brands Inc., whose biggest brand is Victoria's Secret, saw its stock fall 1.4 percent the day of the ruling.