The New Jersey lingerie designer suing Victoria’s Secret for allegedly stealing her body of work said she is only trying to protect her intellectual property.
“I have put a lot of time, work, energy and investment into my designs and unique inventions and I just want to protect my intellectual property,” Debra MacKinnon told ABC News.
MacKinnon, who runs the intimate apparel company Zephyrs, claims Victoria’s Secret swiped her idea for a state-of-the-art push-up insert. The retailer is now selling “lower quality knock-offs” of her invention, she alleges.
The kidney-shaped silicon push-up insert at the center of the lawsuit creates lift and cleavage while maintaining a natural appearance underneath clothing.
In a complaint filed Monday in U.S. Southern District Court of New York, MacKinnon said she got the idea for the bra insert in January 2008 after 20 mock-up attempts.
The lawsuit claims she then pitched her product to Victoria Secret, telling the company she was applying for a patent and would give the company "exclusive licensing" rights if an agreement was reached.
According to the complaint, MacKinnon claims she sold "tens of thousands" of her inserts to the company from 2011-2012 until Victoria's Secret_" target="_blank">Victoria's Secret decided to "terminate" their agreement and "ask a new supplier to slavishly copy and effectively ‘knock off’ the unique patented shaping inserts that she had previously supplied to them."
MacKinnon's lawsuit asks for damages and Victoria’s Secrets’ profits from the sale of the bra. The lawsuit also asks the court to transfer ownership of the design patent from Victoria’s Secret to MacKinnon.
Victoria's Secret had no comment on the lawsuit.
“This specific case is a classic David and Goliath story where you have an entrepreneur and a large U.S. conglomerate,” Ivan Parron, an entertainment and intellectual property attorney not associated with the lawsuit, told ABC News.