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in a unanimous decision, the justices overturned a 6th Circuit ruling that “dilution” of a mark will occur if a mark is distinctive, even if no actual harm had been proved. Moseley v. V Secret Catalogue Inc., No. 01-1015. The case involved a suit filed by Victoria’s Secret against a store selling sex merchandise named Victor’s Little Secret. According to the court, the Federal Trademark Dilution Act requires proof that a junior mark has been used that is sufficiently similar to the famous mark to evoke in consumers a mental association of the two, and that such confusion has caused actual economic harm to the owner of the famous mark by lessening its former selling power. According to the justices, the statute requires proof of actual harm, rather than mere “likelihood” of harm. There is no evidence of any lessening of the Victoria’s Secret mark’s capacity to identify and distinguish goods or services sold in Victoria’s Secret stores. Stevens delivered the court’s opinion.

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