THE INDUSTRY’S LATEST COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LAWSUIT

In What's New, Industry News by Christine Galasso

As a 70-year old footwear brand, it’s safe to say Dr. Martens has a corner on the black, lace-up combat boot market. Still, that didn’t stop Steve Madden from allegedly knocking off the brand’s instantly-recognizable 1460 style, according to a new lawsuit filed by Dr. Martens’ parent company AirWair International Ltd.

The infringement case took place in a California federal court, where AirWair claimed, “Steve Madden’s conduct in copying the Dr. Martens trade dress has been systematic and deliberate. Steve Madden has copied the Dr. Martens trade dress, and the overall style and configuration of Dr. Martens boots and shoes in a deliberate and calculated attempt to trade upon the popularity and distinctive appearance and design of Dr. Martens footwear.”

The 1460 knockoffs violate five specific trade dress marks, issued to Dr. Martens between 1997 and 2016, that set its design apart. According to Law 360, “The marks include a patterned line design on the bottom sole of the shoe, a yellow welt stitch around the side of the boot, a two-toned grooved sole edge surrounding the area of the yellow stitch, a ribbed sole edge with a dark color band, and a fabric loop on the back of a boot that has the ribbed sole and welt switching.”

AirWair also said this is not the first time Steve Madden has knocked them off, citing a “pattern and practice” of copying its designs. They also identified and exhibited four other stolen styles (“JFunn,” “McBeth,” Macen” and “JPlayy”) in court.

According to The Fashion Law: “Dr. Martens – which has set forth claims for trade dress infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin, and federal trademark dilution – is seeking both preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, the removal of all advertisements of said infringing products, “an accounting of Defendants’ profits arising from [their] unfair competition and trademark infringement”, damages, attorneys fees, and any “other and further relief [the] court may deem just.”

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