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Deckers launches another lawsuit over Ugg trade mark


December 17, 2010/22.48

On December 7, Deckers Outdoor Corp. filed suit in the US District Court in the Central District of California against Emu Australia, Inc. and Emu (Aus.) Pty. Ltd., claiming infringement over the Ugg Australia trade mark.
   Emu has this week issued a statement in response to the lawsuit, claiming that in Australia, Ugg has become a generic word and not capable of being protected.
   The Australian defendants point out, ‘Similar lawsuits by Deckers in Australian courts have been unsuccessful.
   ‘There are over 70 registered trademarks in Australia and New Zealand which include the word Ugg.’
   The term has been used in Australia and New Zealand since before World War II, before Smith’s company’s founding.
   Deckers says that Emu’s infringement ‘is intentionally misleading consumers into believing they are buying a genuine Ugg Australia product when in fact, they are not,’ says Deckers chairman and CEO, Angel Martinez.
   Martinez says, ‘Deckers is taking an active stand against those companies that infringe on our trade marks, like Emu, and companies that copy our designs, like Bearpaw, as well as countless websites selling counterfeit product, because our success is built on the trust between Ugg Australia and its retail customers and consumers. That bond is our most important asset.’
   Deckers came into ownership of the Ugg Australia trade mark through the 1995 purchase of the company from Australian Brian Smith.
   Ugg Australia was first distributed Stateside in 1978, says Deckers.
   ‘Emu is more interested in investing in the innovation and craftsmanship of its products than investing in its lawyers,’ says Paul Neate, Emu’s managing director.

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