Casual footwear maker U.S.A. Dawgs Inc. has escalated its ongoing litigation against popular comfort lifestyle brand Crocs Inc.
In an 110-page complaint filed Aug. 5 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, Dawgs has now accused 18 former and current Crocs employees and directors of violating antitrust laws in order to help the company gain an unfair edge in the clog footwear market.
Specifically, Dawgs alleges that Crocs’ employees and directors fraudulently obtained and enforced Crocs’ cornerstone patents and used them to unlawfully eliminate competition and enable the firm to “set, fix and charge supra competitive prices for clog footwear that resulted in American consumers overpaying more than $1 billion.”
“This scheme resulted in the unjust enrichment of the [defendants] by more than $350 million, collectively,” the lawsuit states.
In an email response to Footwear News, a spokesperson for Crocs said Dawgs’ complaint is a “clear attempt to harass Crocs’ current and former employees and board members” and that the firm plans to “vigorously” defend the “frivolous allegations.”
“The claims in this complaint are not new; they are essentially a repetition of the same unfounded allegations made against [Crocs] since 2012 after it prevailed in its patent claims against various infringers,” the spokesperson added.
In 2006, Crocs filed a suit against USA Dawgs’ Canadian affiliate Double Diamond for patent infringement on its popular clog designs. Crocs, in 2012, amended that complaint and added U.S.A. Dawgs as a defendant.
In court documents filed in the U.S District Court for the District of Nevada on July 18, Dawgs sought a judgment of noninfringement on the grounds that Crocs’ cornerstone patents were invalid and could not be violated in the first place.
Dawgs said Wednesday that it has now expanded the case against Crocs and one of its founders, Scott Seamans, to include broad antitrust, Lanham Act false advertising and business tort claims.
“We are going to prove to the jury that Crocs invented nothing and their officers’ and directors’ entire business strategy was knowingly based on fraudulent patents that never should have issued and the sham litigation that followed,” Steven Mann, Dawgs CEO, said in a statement.