American Eagle sues S. Side furniture company

By Michael Oneal
Posted April 5 at 4:34 p.m.

Teen clothing giant American Eagle Outfitters Inc. is suing a South Side Chicago furniture company for trademark infringement.

According to papers filed April 1 in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois, the suit targets American Eagle Furniture Inc., which operates retail outlets in Gurnee Mills and the Woodfield Mall. It also sells furniture wholesale under the name Titanic Furniture.

American Eagle Outfitters, which began business in 1987, also operates clothing stores in those malls and claims the competing use of the American Eagle trademark creates customer confusion.

Besides the company, which is owned by Tom Abo, the suit names three defendants, Tony Archuiliti, Jay Nouri and Tamman “Oudie” Aboussaf, who Abo said in an interview are owner-operators of the stores.

Abo said his lawyer is preparing a legal response to American Eagle Outfitters. But he said he doesn’t understand what the clothing retailer is worried about.

“We don’t sell anything close to what they sell,” Abo said. “They sell clothes; we sell furniture. I don’t know why they are making such a big deal out of it. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Abo, who is from Syria, said he started his company in 1987 as a small furniture store in Cicero. It grew into a wholesale operator named Titanic, which now has about 1,000 wholesale customers and headquarters on South Loomis Boulevard. In 2006, Abo registered “American Eagle Furniture Your Home’s Best Friend” as a trademark and decided to open stores in partnership with Archuiliti, Nouri and Aboussaf to sell the company’s “modern contemporary” furniture in malls.

Originally there were three stores, but American Eagle recently closed one in Aurora’s Fox Valley Mall.

Early last year, the suit says, American Eagle Outfitters became aware that the wholesale company was using the American Eagle name in retail outlets very near its own stores. The larger company sent letters to Abo and the three other defendants demanding that they stop using the American Eagle name. The clothing company said it got no response and therefore filed its suit.

Abo acknowledged that he didn’t respond because he didn’t feel the complaint had merit given that he has his own trademark. But he said he would comply with whatever the courts decide in the dispute.


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