Long Island mom suing Victoria's Secret

April 22, 2008 4:27:55 PM PDT
A Long Island woman is accusing Victoria's Secret lingerie company of stealing her idea for a strapless bra.The 38-year-old single mother of four, including triplets, Katerina Plew is seeking unspecified damages in the federal lawsuit. Plew from Selden, Long Island says she also want to force the company from infringing on her patent.

According to Plew, she created the bra in 1999 after becoming fed-up with not being able to hide her own bra straps.

Plew says her design calls for a strip of fabric loops along the top of the cups and torso band so the straps can be detached and reattached in different ways to hide them under the outer garment. She said she filed for a patent for the bra in 2002, trying to make money to raise her kids. She says she got the patent in 2004.

Plew said she arranged a meeting with Victoria's Secret to pitch the product two years ago, after telling them she had a patent and e-mailing them a mock-up. She says the company canceled the meeting as she was driving into Manhattan from her home on Long Island.

"They said their legal team advised them against it. Then a year later I walked into Victoria's Secret and guess what I saw on their shelf?" she said.

Victoria's Secret sells a 100-way strapless convertible bra that it describes as having three sets of straps that hook into eyelets to wear 100 ways.

Plew said she has no doubt where that product came from.

"That's my bra. They made my bra," she said she recalled thinking as she saw it in the store. Then, she says, she burst into tears. "The young girl at the register would have thought I was a loon."

A lawyer for Victoria's Secret didn't immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.