H and M to sue Russian imitator

Swedish mass fashion retailer Hennes and Mauritz (H and M) on Friday said it had launched legal proceedings against a clothing manufacturer registered in Russia as H and M International.

“I can confirm that we have launched legal proceedings in Russia,” H and M spokeswoman Annacarin Björne told AFP following Swedish media reports that the company was suing the Russian store for infringing its brand.

H and M has stores across Europe and North America but has yet to open shop in Russia.

“As an international retailer it is in our interest to register our brand on potential future markets. Russia is one of many potential markets,” Björne said.

The logo on the Russian clothing store’s website (www.hm.ru) appears to be identical to the Swedish company’s trademark, but H and M International chief Boris Kostyrin recently insisted he had no idea how this had happened.

“Perhaps it can be explained by the particular way designers creating logos work,” he wrote in a letter briefly posted on his company’s website and quoted on Svenska Dagbladet’s web site.

In the letter, Kostyrin also maintained that he saw no reason why the Swedish and Russian stores could not co-exist.

“We are known in Russia and the Hennes and Mauritz company is known in Sweden,” he said.