Stanley Black & Decker has filed a lawsuit to prevent Sears from calling itself the “real home” of the Craftsman brand, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Stanley Black & Decker purchased the brand from Sears in 2017 in a deal valued at roughly $900m. The arrangement granted Stanley Black & Decker “the right to develop, manufacture and sell Craftsman-branded products outside the Sears Holdings and Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores distribution channels,” a press release confirmed.
In a lawsuit filed in a New York federal court, Stanley Black & Decker alleges Sears’ new line of “Craftsman Ultimate Collection” products and Sears’ efforts to market itself as “the real home of the broadest assortment of Craftsman” violate the companies’ previous agreements.
In the suit, Stanley Black & Decker argues Sears’ slogan “falsely implies Craftsman products sold elsewhere are ‘illegitimate’ and could confuse shoppers and hurt the brand,” the Tribune reports.
Stanley Black & Decker is asking the courts to prevent Sears from “using the tagline and the ‘Craftsman Ultimate Collection’ label and remove references to both from its websites, social media platforms and advertising,” the Tribune reports.
The lawsuit also seeks damages of more than $75,000.
Craftsman and Sears have been intertwined since 1927, when Sears decided to create high-end tools for customers, according to the article. After buying the Craftsman name from Marion-Craftsman Tool Co., Sears introduced a line of saws and power tools two years later.
The Tribune reports that Sears’ sale of Craftsman to Stanley Black & Decker in 2017 gave Sears “an immediate cash infusion and a chance to benefit from the brand’s growth at other retailers through royalty payments.”
Stanley Black & Decker then began selling Craftsman tools to Lowe’s and Ace Hardware, which prompted Sears to defend its longtime connection to the brand.
“After Sears sought bankruptcy protection in October, in the run-up to the critical holiday shopping season, Sears referred to itself as the ‘original’ or ‘real’ home of Craftsman on social media,” according to the Tribune.