Court sides with Lauren in another image suit

A Luxembourg court sided with designer Ralph Lauren's company Wednesday, again agreeing that the company’s image of a player might be confused with another sought for use in sport merchandise by a polo club.

Lauren’s company has long scarred polo’s landscape with trademark litigation over the image of a polo player whether used for profit or nonprofit in the sport it represents. The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club is the latest in a string of entities to be blocked from using a player’s image on a range of products including laundry soap and perfume, according to wire reports Wednesday.

The club’s logo, which featured a polo player encircled by the polo club’s name, could be confused with trademarks registered in the United States by Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., the European Court of First Instance ruled. 

The club carried its claims to Europe’s second-highest court, arguing that disallowing their trademark would give Lauren an unfair monopoly on the use of the image of a polo player. The Berkshire club reportedly applied to register the logo for product use in 1997. Lauren subsequently objected, claiming the trademarks it registered.

The court said it was justifiable to allow the New York-based company to protect an image it had invested money in.

The news follows release of Polo Ralph Lauren financials on Tuesday. The firm posted net income of $90.7 million, or 84 cents per share last week, compared with $75 million, or 72 cents per share, for the year-ago quarter, Reuters reported. Analysts surveyed expected the company to earn a net profit of 74 cents per share. Revenues rose 10 percent to $995.5 million, higher than the $963.2 million Wall Street expected. Comparable store sales increased 7.4 percent. – Diane Hensley

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