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Last Updated: Monday, 18 April, 2005, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Monsoon sues Primark for 'copies'
Model in a Monsoon dress
Imitation is not the greatest form of flattery in the harsh retail market
UK High Street fashion chain Monsoon has taken legal action against rival Primark, alleging the retailer has copied its clothes.

Monsoon said Primark will take six items, including skirts, swimwear, girl's trousers, and children's socks and scarves, off shelves in its stores.

Monsoon, however, said it had issued High Court proceedings, claiming the alleged copying was "unacceptable".

It is seeking damages and a commitment that Primark would not copy again.

Primark could not be reached for immediate comment.

Stitch up?

In a statement, Monsoon said it had complained to Primark about the firm's similar clothing on a number of occasions.

Primark paid 23,000 to Monsoon in May after admitting that it had copied the firm's Brittany top for girls and a butterfly dress.

Monsoon store
We take any infringement of our design and copyright very seriously
Rose Foster, Monsoon

The clothes currently the subject of dispute are a zigzag linen skirt, a curved panelled skirt, tropical floral print swimwear, girls' corduroy trousers, and a children's striped scarf and poodle and heart socks.

"We take any infringement of our design and copyright very seriously," said Rose Foster, Monsoon's chief executive.

Monsoon said its reputation was built on "the individuality of its designs and the flair and ability of its designers".

The company's shares were unchanged at 301 pence on Monday.

They have climbed by more than 20% this year to record levels, buoyed by strong earnings.

The company reported record pre-tax profits for the half-year period to 27 November of 28m ($52m) - an improvement of 32% on the previous year.

The firm sells high-end clothing and accessories for men, women and children. It also owns the Accessorize chain.

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