Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Zumba sues J.C. Penny over fitness slogan

New Jersey residents may be aware that many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to compete with online sellers like Amazon. The big-box chain J.C. Penny was once one of the country's most successful retail chains, but it now faces falling sales and an uncertain future. An earnings report released on Aug. 15 reveals that the chain lost $48 million during the second quarter, and the company's fortunes took another hit recently when the popular exercise and weight loss program Zumba sued it for trademark infringement.

The lawsuit was filed when Zumba discovered that J.C. Penny was selling fitness apparel using the slogan 'From A to Zumba." Zumba Fitness, LLC, says that it did not produce, license or authorize any of the products being sold by J.C. Penny, and it claims that the slogan is being used by the retailer to deceive and mislead consumers. J.C. Penny has been accused of trademark infringement before. In 2016, the luxury fashion brand Burberry sued the retailer for selling products bearing a design virtually identical to its own. That lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount, according to reports.

Zumba's lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent J.C. penny from using the 'From A to Zumba" slogan and damages to compensate the fitness company for lost profits. Zumba also wants J.C. Penny to destroy all products and promotional materials that infringe on its trademarks.

Attorneys with trademark law experience may act swiftly when logos or slogans belonging to their clients are used by others without prior consent. Allowing this kind of behavior to go unanswered can encourage other more infringement and make intellectual property lawsuits more difficult to win. Attorneys may also check trademark portfolios on a regular basis to ensure that all of the branding elements used by their clients are adequately protected.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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