Tony Duquette, Inc., as holder of various intellectual property rights associated with the late designer and artist Tony Duquette, has filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against J. Crew Group, Inc. for trademark infringement and other causes of action.

Tony Duquette, Inc. alleges that J. Crew infringed the Duquette proprietary name and trademarks by producing and marketing a “J. Crew Duquette Factory Leopard Print” sweater. The lawsuit alleges that J. Crew knowingly and willfully used the Duquette trademark without permission or license in connection with a leopard print product because of Tony Duquette’s unique association with leopard print in the company’s designs and products. Tony Duquette, Inc. has an exclusive licensing arrangement with Jim Thomson, Inc. for a collection of woven and printed textiles including an authorized signature leopard print pattern and with Roubini, Inc. for carpets and tapestries in signature leopard print taken from the Duquette archives. Damages and injunctive relief are sought.

Hutton Wilkinson, President and Creative Director of Tony Duquette, Inc., said, “We filed this claim to ensure our trademarks are used appropriately and only with our permission.”

Tony Duquette was an internationally renowned designer, artist, and arbiter of style whose work included designs for clients such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Elizabeth Arden. The company Tony Duquette, Inc., under the direction of Hutton Wilkinson, has continued to create, license, distribute, and sell archival and new products around the world to purveyors of luxury, fashion, jewelry, and home furnishings. Two bestselling books “Tony Duquette” and “More Is More” published by Abrams Books chronicle his life and works and a third book devoted to the exquisite jewelry designed by Tony Duquette and Hutton Wilkinson is planned for publication by Abrams Books in 2011.

The J. Crew Duquette Factory Leopard Print pictured above has been removed from the J. Crew web site — and had been replaced with the Wild spots cardigan below: