June 5, 2009

Woman sues Victoria’s Secret over patent

A Pennsylvania woman has filed a patent infringement suit against Victoria's Secret, saying the company copied her multilayer uplift bra.

Heather Knox of Monroeville told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette she patented her bra in 2006 after working on it for years. She was inspired by the frustration of trying to find a garment that would provide both uplift and a smooth silhouette.

Knox said that in 2007, as she searched for a possible manufacturer for her bra, she got in touch with Victoria's Secret's head designer. They talked on the telephone and communicated by e-mail and Knox said she sent a description of her design, noting she had a patent.

While she never heard anything more from the retail chain, she said the Victoria's Secret BioFit bra, in its largest sizes, uses a power mesh that resembles her design. She filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

It's scary to go up against a big company, but I think in the end, the right decision will be made, she said.

Limited Brands, the parent company of the chain, would not comment on the litigation.