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Companies told to cease selling Fiesta ripoffs

| Friday, July 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Companies in Arkansas and Illinois have agreed to stop selling foreign-made dinnerware that resembles the product of the last major dinnerware manufacturer in the United States, lawyers for the company said on Thursday.

The Homer Laughlin China Co. of Newell, W.Va., claimed in a federal lawsuit that Carnaval dinnerware made in China mimics its trademark Fiesta dinnerware. The manufacturer sued Hanna's Candle Co. of Fayetteville, Ark., and The Bazaar Inc. of River Grove, Ill., for selling the imitations.

Instead of demanding that the companies destroy the offending dinnerware, Homer Laughlin has agreed that they can donate it to food kitchens and homeless shelters in the Fayetteville area, said Charles Gibbons, one of the manufacturer's attorneys.

“We thought the food kitchens and so forth could put it to good use,” he said.

Michael Dever, another attorney for Homer Laughlin, said the donation will amount to about 10,000 to 25,000 sets of dinnerware.

J. Alexander Hershey, one of the attorneys for the two retailers, confirmed there was a settlement but declined further comment.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon in Pittsburgh on Thursday approved a joint motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Founded in 1871, Homer Laughlin China specializes in retail and commercial cooking and dinnerware and is best known for its colorful Fiesta line. It employs more than 1,000 people and has annual sales of about $100 million.

Its Fiesta dinnerware is so popular that tourists flock year-round to the outlet store at the Ohio River town plant. Some of them sleep outside for days before a sale at its outlet store.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bbowling@tribweb.com or 412-325-4301.

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