Ugg Sues Target, JCPenney & Others for Selling Knockoffs

Deckers Brands is accelerating its efforts to protect its popular sheepskin boot brand Ugg.

The company announced on Sept. 19 that it had filed six suits against brands and retailers — including Target Corp., J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Muk Luks parent company Reliable Knitting Works — alleging trademark and/or design patent infringement of the Ugg brand. The new cases, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of California on Sept. 14 are in addition to the lawsuits Deckers filed against The Wet Seal LLC and Lamo Sheepskin Inc. in June.

It has now been sixteen years since Ugg boots were first featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in the year 2000, and Oprah emphatically declared on national television how much she “LOOOOOVES her UGG boots,” Deckers writes in court documents obtained by Footwear News. “The popularity of Ugg brand footwear has grown exponentially since then with celebrities including Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker among a myriad of others regularly donning them.”

Gina Group, LLC, SNL Shoes and Kimera International were the other three companies slapped with intellectual property suits, courtesy of Deckers.

In its complaint against JCPenney, Deckers accuses the retailer of intentionally copying its Ellee boot design in an effort to “exploit Deckers’ reputation in the market.” The company accuses Target of willful infringement on its Bailey Button boot design while Reliable Knitting is accused of intentionally infringing on Deckers’ “Essential Outsole” patent.

Deckers Ugg Target Court documents
Court documents. (Deckers Outdoor Corporation v. Target Corp.)
CREDIT: Court documents.

Deckers has filed for and received a number of patents for a range of its Ugg styles, which the company says “have a unique and distinct look.” According to Deckers, other Ugg brand design patents that have been infringed upon by retailers and brand owners include the Ugg Classic Cardy patent, the Ugg Josette patent and the Ugg Maylin patent.

In each suit, Deckers is asking the court to immediately and permanently prevent the defendants from selling infringing footwear. It is also seeking damages as well as a recall of the products from distributors and retailers.

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