Wednesday, December 13, 2006, 12/13/2006 02:20:00 PM

Victoria's Secret's Secrets? Or Were They Ms. Detsis's Secrets?

By Todd
Ms. Detsis apparently had some ideas for the S-hooks on a bra strap that Victoria's Secret would be interested in. So she entered into a written confidentiality agreement with Victoria's Secret and shared her ideas with the famous lingerie company. This idea apparently didn't lead to a commercial relationship but Ms. Detsis later claimed in a lawsuit in federal court that Victoria's Secret's S-hook ideas were hers. Victoria's Secret moved for summary judgment as to all of Ms. Detsis's claims. The court dismissed most of them but denied summary judgment as to the claim for breach of the confidentiality agreement they executed. Victoria's Secret thought the court was wrong on that ground, and moved for reconsideration of the denial of summary judgment on the breach of confidentiality agreement claim.

The court, in denying the motion for reconsideration, said: "The defendant insists that the S-hook at issue was commonly known and explains that this element was incorporated into the Personalize It Campaign through Kramer's (a Victoria's Secret employee) cooperation with a third-party vendor. (See Declaration of Kristin Kramer in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ΒΆΒΆ 28-29). The plaintiff's deposition of the vendor, however, raise factual questions regarding this vendor's familiarity with using the S-hooks on bra straps and whether the idea of using the S-hook on bra straps originated with the defendant's merchandise department. (See Deposition of Steven Abrams at 63 & 88). These specific factual disputes rebut defendant's characterization that the ideas presented by Detsis fall indisputably within the exclusions under the Agreement."

So, unless settled, that issue will go to trial. The idea for this special S-hook on a bra strap, and whether Victoria's Secret was prohibited from using it, will find its way to a federal trial. The case can be cited as: Detsis v. Victoria's Secret Stores, Inc., 2006 WL 3500021 (S.D.N.Y. December 4, 2006).

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