Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse are being sued for allegedly selling knockoff German knives on the Home Shopping Network.
According to the lawsuit, the knives Stewart and Lagasse are hawking are actually made in China, and not the Solingen region in Germany known for its high-quality knife-making, reports Forbes.
The celebrity chefs are being sued for trademark infringement by a German trade association that holds the rights to certified Solingen cutlery. The trade association is seeking up to $2 million for each time the alleged Solingen knockoffs were mentioned on the cable shopping channel, reports Forbes. As the Home Shopping Network hawks products for sale 24 hours a day, the claimed damages could be astronomical.
In the lawsuit, it's claimed that Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse appeared on the Home Shopping Network and falsely stated that their Santouku knives were made in Solingen. The knives also allegedly had the words "Solingen, Germany" printed on their blades, according to TMZ.
But disgruntled customers soon discovered that the knives, like pretty much everything else we buy nowadays, were actually made in China.
The German trade association has a long-standing U.S. trademark for Solingen cutlery. The association claims Stewart and Lagasse infringed on their rights when they used the name in association with their knives.
Along with the trademark claim, Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse could also get in trouble with their customers for consumer fraud. There reportedly is video of Lagasse stating that the knives are made in Germany, and this would be deceptive advertising if the knives were really cheap knockoffs made in China. Customers could sue for damages. Perhaps more damaging, Stewart and Lagasse may have lost some of the trust and brand loyalty they've built up.
If you're a victim of the alleged Solingen knife fraud or any other alleged act of consumer fraud, you may want to contact an attorney to learn more about your rights. You could be entitled to a refund and other damages.