Montblanc sues Cross for trademark infringement

Montblanc North America has filed suit in federal court in New York against fellow penmaker A.T. Cross Co., alleging infringement of trademarks and false advertising. A spokesperson for A.T. Cross told JCK the company had no comment concerning the suit.

The luxury pen maker is making two claims: One concerns packaging of pen refills, and the other is in regard to the appearance of certain pens sold by Cross’s OMNI division. The “Penatia” brand refill packaging uses the word “Mont Blanc” (not Cross) three times in “prominent, bold lettering,” says a Montblanc statement dated Sept. 20. “Such prominent use” of the name—and the absence of the “Cross” name and use of “Penatia” in smaller letters—“appears calculated to confuse consumers into believing the refills are Montblanc’s own refills, which they are not,” says Montblanc.

Its statement says it raised the issues with Cross in late 2003, and claims Cross promised to change its packaging, but allegedly failed to do so until suit was started in August.

Montblanc’s other claim is that the Cross OMNI pens copy the overall “look” of Montblanc pens and “at least two of Montblanc’s registered trademarks” allegedly to “create consumer confusion and to take a free ride on Montblanc’s reputation.”