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Kmart faces litigation over banana suit

As the last days of September slip away, people in California and across the country turn their attention to fall and the holidays that come with it. In fact, people in this country are projected to spend more than $9 billion this year on Halloween alone. As a result, many companies are planning on how to best capitalize on these planned expenditures. In fact, costumes are such big business that Kmart faces litigation over a costume that may be extremely familiar to some.

The lawsuit was filed by Silvertop Associates, which operates as Rasta Imposta. It claims that Kmart Corp. and Sears infringed its copyright involving a banana costume. According to reports, Kmart has purchased the costume from Rasta Imposta since 2008. However, the two companies were reportedly unable to come to an agreement this year, prompting Kmart to purchase the costumes from another vendor.

The plaintiff reportedly began selling the banana costume in 2001 and received a copyright in 2010. While a competing banana costume might be acceptable, Rasta Imposta claims that the one Kmart is currently selling is too similar to Rasta's design. Court papers specifically list  the cut outs for limbs, the black tips and the shape and lines of the costume. Rasta Imposta additionally claims that advertisements regarding the costumes are too similar.

In addition to copyright infringement, Rasta Imposta is accusing Kmart and Sears of unfair competition and trade dress infringement. Unfortunately, many companies in California likely feel that one of their products is being unlawfully copied. In some cases, litigation may be the only way to stop such an action.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Halloween is here with a copyright lawsuit over banana costumes", Polly Mosendz and Kim Bhasin, Sept. 28, 2017

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