SEARCH

Entries in Martha Stewart (3)

Tuesday
Mar052013

Martha Stewart Takes the Stand in Macy's Lawsuit

David Handschuh/Pool via Bloomberg(NEW YORK) -- Even in court Martha Stewart never fails to make an impression.

Stewart, who referred to herself as an “uber-designer,” testified Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan wearing a short, light brown skirt and matching vest with a cream colored blouse underneath.  At one point she declared “I love Macy’s,” the company that is suing her for breach of contract.

Macy’s insists it has exclusive rights to sell Stewart’s line of home products.  It accused her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, of violating that agreement when it inked a deal with JCPenny, though Stewart seemed to see no conflict.

“It just boggles my mind that we’re here,” Stewart testified.

Asked whether Stewart’s company suggested to Macy's that it could or would sell goods in any competing department store she answered, "There were categories that were non-exclusive to Macy's that we could sell in other department stores.”

Stewart said she did business with lots of other stores.

“I don't know if you can consider Petsmart a department store for pets,” she said.  “Michaels is kind of a department store for crafts.”

Ted Grossman, an attorney representing Macy’s, repeatedly tried to tar Stewart as cut-throat businesswoman willing let others assume risk as she raked in profits, an accusation Stewart rebuked.

"We take tremendous risk,” she said. “Our first obligation is to our consumer."

The lawsuit calls into question the legality of hundreds of items Stewart’s company agreed to sell inside JCPenny stores.

"We thought, and I hope rightly so, that we were allowed to do such a thing," Stewart said, attempting to condense a multi-million dollar lawsuit into a simple misunderstanding.

Stewart’s turn on the witness stand brought her back to a New York court eight years after she was convicted of lying to authorities about her sale of ImClone stock.

When asked whether she was comfortable on the witness stand Stewart replied, “As comfortable as can be.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep142012

Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse in Fake Knives Suit

Donald Bowers/Getty Images for JCPENNEY(NEW YORK) -- Many consumers love the Solingen knives Martha Stewart sells under the Emeril Lagasse brand, but a city in Germany doesn’t.

According to a lawsuit filed in a U.S. District Court in Florida by Solingen, Germany’s Chamber of Commerce and Commerce Wuppertal-Solingen-Remscheid, a trade association that holds the rights to the Solingen name, the Solingen trade name was first used in 1853 and trademarked in the U.S. in 1974. In 1994, Germany protected the mark again with the “Solingen Decree,” which mandates that -- like Champagne -- Solingen products are not allowed to be produced outside the specified area.

With that in mind, the Chamber sued Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Emeril Lagasse, HSNI LLC dba Home Shopping Network, and SED International Holdings, which distributes the knives.  The  claim?  That the knives Lagasse hawks are “counterfeit” because they are marked with Emeril’s signature trademark and ‘Solingen, Germany’ “on one side of the blade, and ‘China’ -- where they are manufactured -- on the other side.

“Real” Solingen knives simply say Solingen on one side, which certifies that the products “are of a certain origin and comply with extremely high and specific standards of manufacture,” the lawsuit claims.

According to the complaint, which was reported in Courthouse News, Martha Stewart’s company “was and is responsible and in charge of the Emeril brand, which includes the licensing, advertising, promotion, distribution, and sales of the Counterfeit Products.”  Lagasse sells his knives on HSN.com.

The lawsuit cites one woman who said the only reason she bought the knives was because they were made in Germany, and that she was appalled to discover they were made in China. Another customer cited in the suit claimed the knives were “rusting and breaking in half.”

The Chamber is seeking $2 million in statutory damages for each trademark violation, or triple damages of “illicit profits,” triple damages for false advertising and unfair competition, plus reasonable attorney and investigative fees.

A spokesperson for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia would not comment. Reps for HSN and SED International did not return phone calls from ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan242012

Can Martha Stewart Get Her House in Order Again?

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Digitas(NEW YORK) -- The resiliency of Martha Stewart and her company may be put to the test once again. Department store chain Macy’s sued Martha Stewart’s company on Monday, trying to block a licensing deal between Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and J.C. Penney.

Filed in New York State Supreme Court, Macy’s alleges Martha Stewart Living’s deal with the department store J.C. Penney violates the terms of an exclusive deal Macy’s has to sell Martha Stewart Living’s products. In a deal last announced last month, J.C. Penney acquired a 16.6 percent stake in Martha Stewart Living and will open mini-Martha Stewart shops in its stores.

The lawsuit may be another blow to Stewart’s empire, which has posted losses in four of the last five years.

The Hallmark Channel announced earlier this month that Stewart’s television program, The Martha Stewart Show, would be canceled after the current season. Her syndicated show, which has received two Daytime Emmy awards, first debuted in 2005 and the Hallmark Channel has aired it since 2010.

Stewart’s company, which describes itself as a leading provider of original “how-to” information, publishes four magazines, runs Marthastewart.com, and has several merchandise lines.

With the proliferation of online how-to and home design television shows, websites and magazines, competition in that space is rampant.

Stewart has bounced back before. In her insider trading case in 2004, Stewart was convicted of lying to investigators about the sale of ImClone stock and was incarcerated for five months.

Like most magazine publishers, Martha Stewart Living has seen declining revenues. Total revenue dropped to $231 million in 2010 from $328 million in 2007.

Macy’s has renewed its agreement with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. to exclusively sell Martha Stewart-branded product in categories such as cookware, kitchen utensils, bed and bath for another five years, a spokesman for Macy’s said in a statement. The current agreement now expires in January 2018. The original agreement was signed by Martha Stewart Living in 2006, “in which the right for Macy’s to sell product exclusively in these categories was clearly outlined.”

The company said it will not comment further on the suit because the case is in litigation, but said “Macy’s plans to fully support its exclusive Martha Stewart-branded product going forward.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio