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Chair Hysteria Ensues as Emeco Sues Restoration Hardware

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Restoration Hardwareerr, RH—has been having a tough time lately. First its chairman and co-chief stepped down after word leaked that he may have been involved with a 26-year-old employee; now the California-based furnishings chain is being sued for allegedly ripping off a midcentury chair design. According to a release, RH's Aluminum Standard Side Chair (which was at one point been named the "Naval Chair," it seems) is a copycat of Emeco's Navy Chair, which the Pennsylvania-based company has been manufacturing since 1944, when the United States Navy commissioned torpedo-proof seating for its World War II warships. Emeco puts forth that the trademark infringement has caused "irreparable harm" to its "reputation and significant goodwill," detailing the 77-step process by which the aluminum chairs are made. "By allegedly hijacking the Emeco brand," Emeco says, "consumers are likely to believethat the products Restoration Hardware sells are genuine, legitimate articles."

Not unless they're price-blind: although the chairs look identical, Restoration Hardware is charging $129 for a brushed version; Emeco, meanwhile, wants $455 for a brushed finish and $1,255 for a polished finish. The lawsuit also applies to barstools (RH, Emeco), counter stools (RH, Emeco) and armchairs (RH, Emeco).

· Emeco Sues Restoration Hardware For Allegedly Stealing its Iconic "Navy Chair" Design [Scribd]