wednesday, 16 august of 2017

Crocs loses patent battle over design of its plastic clogs

The other shoe may be about to drop for Crocs.

The Colorado-based footwear maker lost the design patent to its distinctive plastic clogs on Friday, following over a decade of legal acrimony with rival shoe company USA Dawgs.

Crocs may still appeal the ruling, but the news comes in troubled times for the maker of the iconic shoes.

The company reported a three percent decline in revenue for the most recent quarter, and has said that slipping sales will force it to close 160 retail stores over the next two years.

The US Patent and Trademark Office's final rejection of Crocs' 2006 design patent last week came after a decade of fierce legal battles with Dawgs, which claims the clog maker ruthlessly suppressed its competitors.

'We are very pleased with the decision,' said Steven Mann, Dawgs' CEO, in a statement.

'It is unfortunate that Crocs has been able to use this patent to suppress its competitors for so long. We have always been confident that, given a fair playing field, Dawgs would become a prominent competitor,' said Mann.

Fashion lawyer Elizabeth Kurpis told Footwear News that the Crocs design patent had been tossed out because it was substantially similar to a similar design published more than a year earlier.

'USPTO argued that Crocs' patent is invalid because the shoe design could be 'anticipated' from prior similar shoe designs,' Kurpis said.

Crocs said in a statement that it is confident it will win its appeal in the patent fight.

While legal wrangling between Crocs and Dawgs dates back years, it has escalated in recent months.

In July, Dawgs filed a lawsuit claiming that Crocs had infringed the design of its Z-strap sandal, and alleging corporate sabotage.

The lawsuit claims that a Crocs employee illegally accessed internal networks at e-commerce platform Zulily and had a line of Dawgs shoes removed from a planned sale.

Crocs at the time called the suit 'frivolous' and an 'attempt to harass Crocs and disrupt its business.' 

(Published by Daily Mail - August 15, 2017)

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