The Sweet Smell of a Settlement

After an epic battle of their perfume brands, Terri Williamson and J.Lo both ended up as winners.
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In the end, there was only a terse statement, quietly released on October 22. Jennifer Lopez, perfume giant Coty Inc., and Lopez's company, Sweetface Fashion, had decided to settle the lawsuit brought against them by Terri Williamson of Glow Industries for infringement of her trademark. Williamson, who had been prepared to go to trial, agreed to phase out her use of the Glow mark on her body care and fragrance products; Lopez would continue to own and use the Glow by J.Lo mark for her fragrance and other products. "The other terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed," the press release concluded.

"I'm very happy with the way things worked out."

Entrepreneur Terri Williamson, who settled her suit against J.Lo

It doesn't take a genius, however, to figure out that a large sum of money changed hands. Williamson had already concluded last January that she would have to re-brand her business in the face of the saturation marketing campaign accompanying the launch of Glow by J.Lo. (See "Whose Brand Is It, Anyway?" May 2003.) She also knew that starting over would be expensive. "I had to change my strategy," she says. "Before, I'd been trying to protect the name and keep them from using it. When I realized I'd have to change it even if I won the case, I began to focus on receiving a fair and reasonable value for the brand I'd created." And did she get it? "I'm very happy with the way things worked out," she says, choosing her words carefully. "I think both parties are." A spokesman for Jennifer Lopez and Sweetface said they had no comment.

In the days after the settlement, Williamson says, "I started getting really excited about reinvisioning the whole business, which is--I have to say--a lot of fun." And the new name? "I have some possibilities," she says. "I'm planning to ask my customers for suggestions. If anybody has ideas, I'd love to hear them." You can send ideas to contact@glowspot.com.

Last updated: Dec 1, 2003

BO BURLINGHAM | Staff Writer

Burlingham joined Inc. in 1983. An editor at large, he is the author of Small Giants. Burlingham is also the co-author with Norm Brodsky of The Knack; and the co-author with Jack Stack of The Great Game of Business.




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