Katerina Plew, a 38-year-old mother of four, including triplets, said she filed for a patent for her invention in the hopes of making some money to help her raise her kids on her own.
"I thought it was the answer to my dreams, but it was the answer to their dreams," she said.
Frank Joseph Colucci, a lawyer for Victoria's Secret, did not immediately return a telephone message for comment on the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Victoria's Secret is a unit of Limited Brands.
She is seeking unspecified damages, and an order to force the company from infringing on her patent.
Plew, who works as a paralegal in a family law office, said she created the bra in 1999 after she became frustrated that she could not hide her bra straps.
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 and received it in 2004.
Plew said she arranged a meeting with Victoria's Secret to pitch the product two years ago, after telling them she had secured a patent and e-mailing them a mock-up of the bra she had made.
She said 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 had no doubt about where the product originated.
"That's my bra. They made my bra," she said she recalled thinking, before bursting into tears. "The young girl at the register would have thought I was a loon."
In other news:
A baby falls out of a window!
A postal worker is credited with saving a 1-year-old girl's life by catching her after she fell out of a second-story window in Albany, N.Y.
Lisa Harrell was delivering mail to a home late Monday morning when she noticed a baby in a window above the front door. Harrell says the next thing she knew, the baby had fallen into her arms.
When the baby's mother realized what happened, she ran outside and grabbed the girl from Harrell. The woman thanked Harrell and then ran down the street to her mother's house.
Paramedics checked the baby at the scene but found no injuries.
No charges are being filed against the mother, who says she had placed her daughter on a bed that was up against the window. The mother says her back was turned when her daughter crawled out the open window.
A gunman shoots a pregnant bank teller!
A bank teller pregnant with twins was shot in the stomach during a robbery Tuesday morning, and a police search was under way for the gunman.
Indianapolis police spokesman Lt. Jeff Duhamell said the teller, who is five months pregnant, was in serious to critical condition but was alert when taken to a hospital.
"This is senseless. Some poor lady, trying to make a living, pregnant, shot by a man without any provocation," said Indianapolis Police Chief Michael Spears.
The gunman came into the Huntington Bank branch around 9:30 a.m., jumped over the counter screaming and shot the teller in the lower abdomen, Duhamell said. He then fired another shot as he was running out of the bank, he said.
Duhamell said the shooter got away with money, but would not say how much.
Schools in the area were locked down as police searched for the shooter. They were combing streets and a large field behind the bank in search of the shooter.
Police said the suspect jumped into the passenger side of a car to get away, suggesting that more people were involved in the robbery.
Duhamell said it is unusual for bank robbers to shoot anyone because tellers are trained to simply hand over the cash.
One customer and three employees were in the bank during the robbery, a Huntington spokeswoman said.