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Disclosing contract didn’t violate licensing agreement

Judge sides with Stewart in question over sharing Macy’s contract details with J.C. Penney

There is another development in the ongoing saga involving Martha Stewart, Macy’s Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. And this time, Stewart wins some points.

A judge ruled earlier this week that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) did not violate a licensing agreement it had with Macy’s when it shared the details of that contract with J.C. Penney, a Macy’s rival. Macy’s claimed that the contract was confidential.

“We are disappointed with the dismissal of the claim related to confidentiality," Jim Sluzewski, a Macy's spokesman, told the Wall Street Journal. "We believe that to be a clear error, and plan an immediate appeal, which we are confident will result in vindication. We believe the support for all of our claims is overwhelming."

This whole drama dates back to 2011 when J.C. Penney announced it purchased 17 percent of MSLO and planned to open Martha Stewart Living shops within its stores. In early 2012, Macy’s sought preliminary injunction against MSLO to block the deal. Macy’s claimed MSLO breached its contract with Macy’s when it entered into the agreement because Macy’s had an exclusive right with MSLO to sell Martha Stewart Living products. MSLO and J.C. Penney argued that the deal didn’t breach MSLO’s contract with Macy’s because they say that contract allows MSLO to sell Martha Stewart Living products in stand-alone stores—and they say the shops within J.C. Penney fall into that category. Macy’s didn’t buy it, and filed suit against J.C. Penney in August.

The question over the contract was just one of many issues before the court involving this dispute.

Read InsideCounsel’s coverage of this ongoing legal battle:

J.C. Penney won’t sell Martha Stewart stuff … for now

Martha Stewart takes the stand in Macy’s-J.C. Penney trial saga

Macy’s CEO: “sick to my stomach” over J.C. Penney deal

Macy’s claims J.C. Penney and Martha Stewart teamed up to steal customers

Macy’s sues J.C. Penney over Martha Stewart Living contract

Judge temporarily blocks Martha Stewart Living from selling at J.C. Penney

Martha Stewart Living brings Macy’s battle to a boil

Macy’s seeks injunction in spat with Martha Stewart

Macy’s sues Martha Stewart Living

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Cathleen Flahardy

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