Sears stands up for itself against Canada Goose bullies
The latest clash between Canadian retailers has David-versus-Goliath overtones, although we’re not entirely sure who is who. On one side, there’s Toronto-based Canada Goose, the ubiquitous puffy-parka maker recently acquired by Mitt Romney’s former private-equity firm, Bain Capital. It’s claiming that mega-retailer Sears Canada ripped off its signature design—fur trim, shoulder logo, front-flap pockets and all—which would seem to make Sears the brutish oppressor. But, that’s not quite the story Sears is spinning. On Tuesday, the company filed court documents accusing Canada Goose of launching a “campaign of intimidation” against itself and other winter-jacket-selling retailers.
“Canada Goose is simply attempting to bully Sears and others through demands, unfounded litigation, statements in the press and the like into ceasing activities that Canada Goose knows do not cause confusion or any harm to it,” Sears Canada stated in its defense to the lawsuit, which was filed by Canada Goose late last year. Sears also accuses the retailer of defrauding its loyal customers: “The real purpose of Canada Goose’s campaign of intimidation is to attempt to prevent or lessen sales in the marketplace of less expensive winter jackets … to preserve its temporary ability to sell its garments at a huge markup to the public.”
Notoriously protective of its image, this isn’t the first time Canada Goose has litigated against another retailer. Two years ago the company sued International Clothiers for selling a Super Triple Goose parka that was just a little too similar to Canada Goose’s popular outerwear. That lawsuit settled in 2012 for an undisclosed sum. Judging by Sears’s fighting words, this one could get interesting.