[Club Monaco advert, Spring 2009. Image via BikeRumor]
Here is an excerpt from an article describing the lawsuit:
A Black Bike, Inc., a small scale bicycle distributor based in Brooklyn, New York, filed a lawsuit in federal court today against the clothing and accessories retailer Club Monaco, Inc., and Koninklijke Gazelle, alleging false advertising, unfair competition, deceptive acts and practices, and trademark and copyright infringement. The complaint alleges that Club Monaco, a subsidiary of Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, used images of A Black Bike's bicycles as the centerpiece of its Spring 2009 advertising campaign, without A Black Bike's authorization, and while publicly representing that the images were instead bicycles manufactured by the Dutch bicycle company Koninklijke Gazelle.In their recent post about the lawsuit, Bike Rumor features pictures of a Gazelle and a Black Bike side by side and states that "the only difference between the bikes appears to be the decal and logo placements" and that "the key discrepancy seems to be the logo on the [headbadge]". They go on to note that the logos and headbadge in the Club Monaco advert appear to resemble those of A Black Bike rather than those of Gazelle.
... In January of 2009, following the upswing of A Black Bike's publicity, the complaint alleges that Club Monaco purchased a bicycle from A Black Bike and discussed a national advertising campaign that would feature A Black Bike's bicycles. Although a deal was never reached, ... the complaint alleges that the A Black Bike bicycle was prominently featured in Club Monaco's Spring 2009 advertising campaign, without A Black Bike's authorization. Furthermore, instead of crediting A Black Bike, the complaint alleges that Club Monaco confused consumers by falsely representing that the bike in the campaign was a "Gazelle," manufactured by the Dutch company, Koninklijke Gazelle, a competitor of A Black Bike.
... Following these events, A Black Bike suffered a large drop in sales due to Gazelle's benefit from the advertising campaign in the U.S. market.
The complaint was filed in federal district court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, by A Black Bike's attorneys at Shlansky & Co., LLP. The case is docket number 10CV893.
After examining images of both bicycles, I notice an additional difference that no one has mentioned: the fork crown. Gazelle bicycles have a chromed, flat-top fork crown, like the ones in the photo above.
[A Black Bicycle bicycle. Image via Bike Rumor]
A Black Bicycle bikes, on the other hand, have unicrown forks, as pictured above. If you look at the Club Monaco ad again, the bicycle pictured clearly has a unicrown fork like A Black Bicycle and not a chromed, flat-top-crown fork like Gazelle.
I hope the lawsuit is settled fairly.