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Lululemon, Calvin Klein reach settlement on yoga pants

A lululemon store in Toronto

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Lululemon Athletica Inc., which built its brand on bum-hugging yoga wear, wants other manufacturers to keep their hands off its pants.

The Vancouver-based retailer announced on Tuesday that it has reached a settlement with rival Calvin Klein Inc. in a lawsuit it launched in August. At issue was Calvin Klein's "Performance" brand of athletic pants, made by G-III Apparel Group Ltd. According to court documents, Lululemon alleged that the design of some of the brand's pants were similar to Lululemon's – especially a patented crossover fabric design for its waistbands. The allegations have not been proven.

The filing in a Delaware court pointed to Calvin Klein's knee-length running tights and " compression overlapping waistband pants." Lululemon provided patents for its own pants designs, filed in the U.S. this year and last, including for its Astro Pant products, to support its claim that the Calvin Klein designs infringed on a number of those patents and "irreparably injured Lululemon."

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The company was seeking an injunction to prevent Calvin Klein from selling the Performance pants in question, and also requested its rival pay damages.

According to a statement from Lululemon on Tuesday, the company has reached an out-of-court settlement with Calvin Klein and G-III. It would not disclose the details of the agreement. It will now seek dismissal of the lawsuit.

"We cannot comment on this case as the terms of the settlement are confidential," Lululemon representative Sari Martin said in an e-mail. "Lululemon values its products and related [intellectual property] rights and takes the necessary steps to protect its assets when we see attempts to mirror our products."

Calvin Klein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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