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Spanx vs. Yummie Tummie—in Court

Spanx vs. Yummie Tummie???in Court
Illustration by 731; Photographs by Getty Images

Legal fights in the fashion world can be so entertaining. The judge in the case between Tory Burch and ex-husband Chris Burch likened a possible trial to “a sort of drunken WASP fest.” (Alas, the case was quickly settled at the end of 2012.) Last week Macy’s Chief Executive Officer Terry Lundgren testified that when Martha Stewart told him over the phone she had done a deal with rival J.C. Penney, he was “literally sick to my stomach. … She said this was going to be good for Macy’s. I think that’s when I hung up.”

Now we’ve got Sara Blakely, the billionaire founder of “shape wear” brand Spanx, contending with Heather Thomson, who started Yummie Tummie and stars on the The Real Housewives of New York City. The contretemps began earlier this year when Thomson accused Blakely of copying several of her camisoles, which are protected by design patents. She specifically demanded that Blakely stop selling items called Spanx Total Taming Tank and Top This Cami. After some back and forth, Spanx last week filed a complaint (PDF) in an Atlanta court, arguing that her company has not infringed on any of Yummie Tummie’s patents and would like a judge to rule on the disagreement.