Crocs Inc. is stepping up its trademark infringement fight — and this time, it’s ready to take copycats to court.
The Broomfield, Colo.-based footwear brand, whose clogs have surged in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic, has filed lawsuits against 21 companies for allegedly infringing on its trademarks. The defendants include Walmart Inc., Loeffler Randall Inc. and Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. as well as many lesser-known companies that sell online — or wholesale to retailers such as Walmart.
“These actions underscore our determination to take forceful steps to protect our trademarks and other intellectual property,” said Daniel Hart, EVP and chief legal and risk officer at Crocs, in a statement. “It is essential that we protect Crocs’ iconic DNA, and we will not tolerate the infringement of our rights or those who try to free ride on the investments we have made in our brand.”
The suits, filed in several U.S. District Courts, follow Crocs’ complaint in June with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) requesting an investigation into the unlawful import and sale of allegedly infringing footwear. Last week, the USITC voted in favor of pursuing the investigation.
While that complaint could stop the offending footwear from entering the country and being sold by various companies, today’s lawsuits seek monetary damages for alleged infringements on the three-dimensional design of its recognizable shoes.
The suits are just the latest battle, though, in Crocs’ long struggle to protect its intellectual property. The company — named FN’s 2020 Brand of the Year — landed a long-sought victory in September 2019 when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board held that the design patent for the Classic Crocs clog was valid. The patent had previously been rejected three times by the USPTO after a dispute was filed by one of Crocs’ competitors, USA Dawgs.
At the time, a company spokesperson said that its legal efforts were aimed at protecting Crocs’ intellectual property and enforcing it “against those who unfairly trade off of the brand’s goodwill and reputation.” And now, with the brand name buoyed by buzzy collaborations with celebrities like Justin Bieber and Diplo, as well as a marked shift toward comfortable styles in the wake of the pandemic, that goodwill may be stronger than ever.
Here is the full list of defendants named in Crocs’ trademark infringement lawsuits:
Cape Robbin Inc.; Bijora, Inc., d/b/a Akira; Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare Corp. d/b/a/ Carol Wright; Crocsky; Fujian Huayuan Well Import and Export Trade Co., Ltd.; Fullbeauty Brands Inc. d/b/a Kingsize; Hawkins Footwear, Sports, Military & Dixie Store; Hobibear Shoes and Clothing Ltd.; Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.; Ink Tee; La Modish Boutique; Legend Footwear, Inc., d/b/a Wild Diva; Loeffler Randall Inc.; Maxhouse Rise Ltd. (Walmart Supplier); PW Shoes, Inc. a/k/a P&W; Royal Deluxe Accessories, LLC; Shoe-Nami, Inc.; Star Bay Group Inc.; Walmart, Inc., Yoki Fashion International LLC; Quanzhou ZhengDe Network Corp., d/b/a Amoji; and 718Closeouts.