Oct 18, 2017

Australian manufacturer in UGG battle

Outside of Australia, a lot of people would associate the name 'ugg' with the UGG footwear brand known for producing, amongst other products, sheepskin boots (UGG). UGG is a division of American company Deckers Outdoor Corporation (Deckers). In Australia, however, the word 'ugg' has been used as a generic term for sheepskin boots for years.

The BBC has reported how Australian sheepskin 'ugg' boot manufacturer, Australian Leather, is having to defend itself after being sued for trademark infringement by Deckers, reportedly relating to products sold in the US. The man behind Australian Leather, Eddie Oygur, has expressed his surprise at the proceedings, stating that he has been selling his boots for years in Australia.

Deckers has reportedly registered trade marks for UGG in over 130 countries including the US and is already accustomed to legal battles with other manufacturers that sell sheepskin boots. However, in a positive outcome for Australian manufacturers of the boots selling in Australia, Australian Courts have ruled that 'ugg' is a generic term, ultimately meaning any manufacturer can produce 'ugg' boots in Australia.

Oygur, who is currently in the US for the lawsuit, told the BBC that he has only been able to sell his boots in Australia as Deckers has prevented him from selling around the world.  Oygur hopes that he will be able to invalidate Decker's US trade mark for UGG in the upcoming lawsuit to allow him to sell his 'uggs' outside of Australia.

It will be interesting to see whether Australian Leather is successful in its quest to revoke the UGG  trade mark in the US, as the outcome may greatly affect the traditional manufacturers that have been producing 'uggs' for centuries.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

in: News, Trade Marks

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