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OFF BEAT: Claims of unfairness over J.C. Penney's 'fair and square' logo


J.C. Penney Corp. Inc. is being accused of unfairness by a New York retail display company that was hired to create signs with the retailer’s “Fair and Square” logo.

Hudson & Broad Inc. accuses Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney of misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract and unjust enrichment in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

In the complaint, Hudson & Broad said J.C. Penney hired the company to create store signs that would include the retailer’s new square logo and change color each month. Hudson & Broad said it created an “illuminated square” display that would use remote-controlled LED lights to shift hues.

Hudson & Broad created and installed illuminated square displays for J.C. Penney’s headquarters and a store in the Manhattan Mall, according to the complaint. The company said J.C. Penney discussed ordering hundreds more displays for other stores but ultimately used another manufacturer for the work.

Hudson & Broad is seeking at least $52 million in punitive and compensatory damages for what it says was “disgraceful abuse of a vendor by senior executives at J.C. Penney.”