Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute v., Inc. et al (21-cv-11872).

  • December 1, 2021

Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI) is an international trade association of cashmere manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.  It says it represents most of the major cashmere producing companies and points to several First Circuit decisions that held CCMI to have standing to bring claims such as those in the complaint.  Among the services CCMI provides to its members is a garment purchasing program whereby CCMI tests garments to determine the accuracy of claims that they are made of cashmere.  CCMI purchased scarves from Amazon and co-defendant CS Accessories that were advertised as “100% Cashmere” or ‘Cashmere Mande in Scotland” and determined that these scarves were instead made entirely of acrylic, a cheaper, less warm and more flammable fiber than cashmere.   The products that were obtained for testing identified either Amazon, “City Scarf” or “Pick A Scarf” as the actual seller.  “City Scarf” and “Pick A Scarf” are registered trademarks of CS Accessories.  CCMI says that it notified Amazon of the issue in 2019 and 2020.  Amazon in 2019 purportedly promised to cease the sale of these products, and again indicated that I would cease sales in 2020 while contesting whether CCMI had standing to raise a complaint.  CCMI says that rather than cease sales, Amazon has actually increased the number of offerings of the falsely-labeled products.  Because acrylic is much cheaper than cashmere, the accused products can be sold at lower costs than real cashmere scarves.  CCMI asserts false designation of origin, violation of G.L. c. 266 § 91(which prohibits untrue and misleading advertisements), common law unfair competition, violation of Massachusetts’ anti-dilution statute, civil conspiracy, contributory, vicarious, and aiding and abetting liability, and breach of contract and promissory estoppel against Amazon (for breaching the agreement that it cease offering the accused scarves for sale in 2019).  Judge Young has the case.

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