The odds that Ivanka Trump will testify in litigation involving her eponymous fashion brand may be decreasing.
According to Bloomberg, in a telephone hearing this week for a trademark infringement suit filed against Trump, her company IT Collection LLC and footwear partner Marc Fisher Holdings LLC, Trump’s counsel argued that the first daughter should not be forced to testify.
“She was not involved in the design, promotion or sale of the shoe,” Darren Saunders, Trump’s lawyer, said in the court hearing. Instead Trump looks at examples of the finished shoes and decides whether to approve them, he noted.
Bloomberg reports that during the hearing, Aquazzura lawyer John Margiotta complained to U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest that his team had been “having trouble scheduling Ivanka Trump’s deposition.”
He reportedly added: “On Friday, we were notified that they are not in fact willing to produce Ms. Trump at all.”
In a suit filed in June 2016, Aquazzura said Trump and her shoe partner copied its strappy, fringed Wild Thing sandal when they designed and distributed a similar sandal under the style name Hettie. In August 2016, Marc Fisher filed a counterclaim against the luxury shoe brand and alleged that the Ivanka Trump style in question didn’t violate trade dress laws, or create unfair competition or unfair trade practices. Fisher also asked the courts to rule that the shoes in question aren’t subject to trademark protection.
In Tuesday’s telephone hearing, Aquazzura counsel Margiotta argued that Ivanka Trump’s public statements suggest she is “intimately involved in the design of each of her shoes.”
“She’s quoted all over talking about controlling her brand and her name,” he reportedly said.
Forrest said she will rule next week whether Ivanka Trump is required to testify under oath, and further stated that she hopes the parties can find a way to limit the questioning by first taking testimony from Abigail Klem, president of the Ivanka Trump brand, Bloomberg reports.
“There’s no doubt that Ms. Trump has a second job right now,” Forrest reportedly told the lawyers.
Trump announced in January that she would step down from her roles at the Trump Organization and her fashion brand, and has since taken on the post of advisor to President Donald Trump. Assets for the brand have been placed in a trust, managed by the family of Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner.