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Tribeca Agency Sues JCPenney for Stealing Their Squares

The squares in question
The squares in question

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As it turns out, JCPenney's new "Fair and Square" promotion isn't so fair and square at all. Back in January, the department store announced that it was about to embark on a massive revamp, the crux of which was their "Fair and Square" pricing strategy. The idea revolves around introducing items at their lowest price point, rather than bring in marked-up merchandise that would be put on sale later. To showcase such honest apparel, JCPenney wanted to use square-shaped store fixtures.

But today, the Post reports that Tribeca-based agency Hudson + Broad is suing JCPenney because those fixtures are their proprietary product. Allegedly, JCPenney "took the firm's idea to anchor store displays with giant, brightly lit squares that cost nearly $10,000 each—then looked for another supplier to do the job on the cheap."

Hudson + Broad President James Maharg explained that the products were "designed, developed and engineered solely by us," so he filed a suit in Manhattan federal court yesterday. And like any good scandal, there are emails to back the whole thing up. According to the Post, the lawsuit cites "a string of alleged e-mails between Penney execs, in which they floated the idea of paying the New York firm a fee to keep the episode quiet."

And it gets worse for Hudson + Broad. The article details what went down at JCPenney's celebratory dinner after the mega-confrence in January. The lawsuit adds that while they ate, JC Penney's VP of Visual Marketing, James Francois, put his hand on Maharg's shoulder and said, "It's all about integrity." A month later, Maharg found out that the store had chosen a cheaper supplier.
· CPenney stole design & e-mailed about it: suit [NYP]
· JCPenney Is Planning a Massive Revamp For February 1st [Racked]