Dart Drug Corp. has pulled the arrow from its advertising symbol and the wound has spilled into federal court.
The Maryland-based retail chain has been charged with trademark infringement by Dayton-Hudson Corp., whose Target Store division operates 148 stores in 17 states and uses a registered symbol virtually identical to Dart's bull's-eye.
Dart recently revised its symbol, lifting an arrow out of a bull's-eye that had been the emblem for the 74-store chain. The resulting symbol bears a striking resemblance to the Target target and Dayton-Hudson has asked a federal judge here to issue a permanent injunction blocking Dart from use of the symbol. Officials of Dart declined comment on the Dayton-Hudson action.
The action was filed in U.S. District Court here last week by the Minneapolis-based retail company, which also owns a variety of retail operations including B. Dalton Bookseller and Dayton Hudson Jewelers. The holding company has 831 stores in 47 states and the District of Columbia.
Target has used the symbol of the single dot surrounded by a circle for many years and on Oct. 30, 1973, the company was granted a U.S. Trademark Registration. Target stores sell more than 70,000 items and are large-scale discount retail stores with a broader product line that Dart Drug stores.
"Millions of dollars have been expended for advertising under the mark and billions of dollars in goods have been sold and services rendered under the mark," Dayton-Hudson said in its complaint.
Dart apparently dropped its longtime symbol of a dart struck in the center of a target last year, a particular problem Dayton-Hudson said because the two companies compete in similar retail businesses, including drugs, hardware and lumbar. Use of the mark is "likely to cause confusion, and to cause mistakes, and to deceive," the complaint said.