German and American eyewear companies' dispute heads to court

By Asia Mayfield | Sep 7, 2018

Rodenstock claims Tuscany Eyewear failed to pay for 13 shipments of eyewear.   Photo by Stephen Niemeier from Pexels

FT. LAUDERDALE –– A failed distribution agreement has prompted a legal fight between two eyewear manufacturers.

German eyewear manufacturer Rodenstock filed a complaint on Aug. 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against New York Optical International, which operates Tuscany Eyewear. 

Rodenstock alleges Tuscany is damaging the German company's reputation by continuing to position itself as an authorized distributor of its merchandise despite a terminated distribution deal.  

Rodenstock is seeking injunctive relief until an arbitrator can be appointed. The company filed suit in Germany as well.

Rodenstock manufactures and sells eyeglasses and sunglasses. The company is also licensed to manufacture and distribute Porsche Design-branded eyewear. 

Tuscany, based in the United States, entered into an agreement with Rodenstock in 2007, including extending distribution rights for Porsche Design-branded eyewear. The contract stipulated the products be marketed a certain way.  

But Rodenstock claims Tuscany failed to pay for 13 shipments of eyewear between December 2017 and April 2018. Rodenstock ended the contract and initiated arbitration proceedings in June. During this time, Rodenstock says, Tuscany attempted to liquidate its inventory of Porsche Design-branded eyewear and sell them at a reduced price. 

“Such heavy discounting damages the brand because it indicates an inability for Porsche Design to command premium pricing, and it directly contravenes the parties’ agreed-to marketing plan for Porsche Design eyewear,” the complaint states.  

The German company is eager for a decision before Sept. 26 when Vision Expo West, a major eyewear convention, will take place in Las Vegas.

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