Emeril Lagasse, Martha Stewart and the Home Shopping Network ended up in legal hot water this fall after allegedly selling knives said to be from a well-known knife-making region in Germany, but that were actually made in China.
A lawsuit -- filed by a trade organization representing manufacturers from Solingen, Germany, the world's "Cutlery Capital" -- is seeking at least $24 million in damages amid charges that the celebrity chef's knives were counterfeit and in violation of the region's trademark.
Like Champagne or Roquefort cheese, the trademarked Solingen mark is associated with "high quality goods" made in that specific region, the German trade association's attorney Greg Mayback said.
The suit claims the knives, which are owned by Martha Stewart's company and sold by the Home Shopping Network, were marked with "Solingen" on one side and "China" on the other.
The defendants claim that they were unaware of the trademark. They say that the Solingen imprint indicated the origin of the steel and that the print was too small to have infringed on the trademark. -- Melanie Hicken