The name was changed eight years ago, and even a Supreme Court victory in 2003 didn’t bring it back. Now, a federal judge has ordered “Victor’s Little Secret” to remain under wraps forever.
To recap: Victor’s Little Secret was an adult novelty and lingerie store operated by Cathy and Victor Moseley in Elizabethtown, Ky., not far from Louisville. Mega-retailer Victoria’s Secret learned of the store and, in true Victorian fashion, was not amused. It went to court and obtained an order blocking the Moseleys from operating under Victor’s name.
The Moseleys changed the name to Cathy’s Little Secret. But they also fought all the way to Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor and remanded the case to the 6th Circuit, with instructions to send it back to the federal court in Louisville for a new ruling.
A funny thing happened on the way to the remand, though. For reasons that aren’t specified, the 6th Circuit sat on the case for awhile. For FOUR YEARS, in fact — until July 2007.
Meanwhile, due in large part to the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision, Congress rewrote the law in a way more to Victoria Secret’s liking. The Trademark Dilution Revision Act took effect in 2006.
Thus, by the time the 6th Circuit sent the case back to the trial court, the rules had changed. While the Moseleys cried foul, U.S. District Judge Charles Simpson [PDF] applied the new standard and ruled in favor of Victoria’s Secret.
“The use of the remarkably similar ‘Victor’s Secret’ or ‘Victor’s Little Secret’ in connection with the sale of intimate lingerie along with sex toys and adult videos tarnishes the reputation of the Victoria’s Secret mark,” Simpson wrote.
No word yet on whether the Moseleys will continue their fight.
BARBARA GRZINCIC, Managing Editor/Law