Abercrombie sues Beyonce over fragrance

Chain has sold cologne called Fierce since 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has sued singer Beyonce Knowles, saying her plan for a fragrance named after her alter ego Sasha Fierce violates the teen clothing retailer's trademark.

The chain, which has sold a men's fragrance called Fierce since 2002, wants a court to order Knowles to abandon the plan. Abercrombie has held a trademark for the word "fierce" since 2003, according to the lawsuit it filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

Fierce is the scent dispersed by employees and machines in Abercrombie stores with the goal of infusing all the apparel they sell.

Knowles, who released an album in 2008 called "I am ... Sasha Fierce," will unfairly benefit from the reputation Abercrombie has built for the scent and could confuse or deceive customers into thinking Abercrombie is associated with her fragrance, the New Albany, Ohio-based retailer claimed in its lawsuit.

Knowles publicist Yvette Noel-Schure and attorney Larry McFarland did not immediately return e-mails and a call seeking comment Wednesday on the lawsuit.

When Knowles applied in September 2008 to trademark "Sasha Fierce" for a fragrance and other items, Abercrombie asked her to refrain from using the name for fragrance, but she disputed there would be any confusion, according to the lawsuit.

The singer announced Tuesday that she had signed a deal with Coty Inc. to market her new fragrance, set to launch next year, the lawsuit says.

Sales of the Abercrombie & Fitch fragrance reached $190 million, according to the lawsuit. The company projects 2009 sales at $64 million. It estimates it spent more than $3 million in 2008 and 2009 on scent machines for its stores.

Coty Inc. was preparing a response Wednesday afternoon.