(Reuters) - German luxury ceramics company Villeroy & Boch AG sued Amazon.com Inc for selling what it says is a copycat version of its popular New Wave cup and saucer.
Villeroy & Boch said Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is selling coffee and espresso cups and saucers under the Melange La Jolla brand that infringe two patents on the swooped design of its New Wave dishware, according to the complaint filed on Thursday in federal court in Manhattan.
In the United States, Seattle-based Amazon sells a set of two Villeroy & Boch New Wave mugs and saucers for nearly $80 (53 pounds), but the Melange La Jolla products go for under $34, according to a check of the website on Thursday.
Based in Mettlach, Germany, Villeroy & Boch was founded in 1748 and has supplied special edition tableware for all new popes since the mid-20th century.
The company said it patented its New Wave designs in 2003 and 2004. It said it had sent Amazon a letter last September warning the retailer to stop advertising and selling the Melange items, but Amazon did not respond.
Representatives from Villeroy & Boch and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The case is Villeroy & Boch AG v. Amazon.com, Inc, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 15-cv-464.
Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi, Bernard Orr