Apparel giants Calvin Klein Inc and its owner Phillips-Van Heusen Corp are being sued by a clothing manufacturer over the use of the 'Calvin' trademark.

Scranton-based Calvin Clothing Co Inc is accusing Phillips-Van Heusen Corp of "a frontal assault" and wants to stop it from using the "Calvin" and destroy any stock bearing that label.

According to Associated Press, Calvin Clothing, named after the owner's son in 1935, had an "understanding" with Calvin Klein that the name could be used for marketing purposes as long as it was never shortened to "Calvin."

However, after Phillips-Van Heusen bought Calvin Klein in December 2002 its executives apparently wanted to use the Calvin brand to sell boys' tailored clothing as well as products identical to those made by Calvin Clothing.

Associated Press says the dispute has carried over into the US Patent and Trademark Office, where Phillips-Van Heusen has already taken action to oppose some of Calvin Clothing's trademark registrations.

Calvin Clothing lawyer Joseph R Solfanelli said in the lawsuit that the "defendants are either seeking to destroy Calvin Clothing's right to use the Calvin mark or, at a minimum, to pigeonhole Calvin Clothing into an unsustainable niche market."

Calvin Clothing's Calvin brand currently does $14 million in annual retail sales.