California-based jewelry company Brighton Collectibles LLC (“Brighton”) filed suit against Macy’s Inc. (“Macy’s”) for copyright infringement. According to the complaint, Brighton alleges that Macy’s infringed copyrighted designs for Brighton’s Reno heart bracelet and necklace products.

Brighton alleges that Macy’s damaged its brand, reputation and goodwill by continuing to sell the alleged copies, despite receiving a letter from Brighton informing it of the infringement. The complaint demands Macy’s stop selling the allegedly infringing products, destroy any jewelry or promotional material it has in stock, and requests that Macy’s place all profit made from selling the allegedly infringing products into a trust for Brighton’s benefit.

Takeaway: Product designs may be protectable under trademark or copyright law. Retailers should thus take caution when advertising and selling designs that are similar to competitors, even if the designs appear to be common or ornamental.