No industry, market or business may be truly free of concerns about competitors trying to gain advantages through unfair practices. This is part of why trademarks, patents and other forms of intellectual property are called out and able to be granted certain protections. However, these protections or marks may be granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office but must be upheld by individual mark or intellectual property owners themselves.
One company that has been known for a very specfic pattern used on clothing accessories for nearly a whole century is today actively pursuing a lawsuit against another major retailer citing trademark infringement. Burberry is the company that holds a trademark for a specific checkered pattern often seen in cashmere scarves. It apparently came to their attention some time ago that Target was selling a range of products with a pattern very similar to the Burberry one.
In 2017, Burberry is said to have sent correspondence to Target requesting that they stop marketing and selling the products with this specific pattern on it. However, Target has continued to sell these items so now Burberry has launched a lawsuit in the case as it asserts the patterns are so similar that the likelihood of consumer confusion is quite high.
When a business believes that a competitor may be infringing on their intellectual property, talking with an attorney in California about how to take action may be a good way of learning the options available.
Source: Fortune, “Burberry Suing Target for Trademark Infringement of Iconic Check Pattern,” Sarah Gray, May 11, 2018