Australian boot maker UGG loses appeal against US giant Deckers
West Sydney boot maker Eddie Oygur has lost a US court appeal against shoe giant Deckers.
- Owner of the UGG brand, Deckers, owns the brand in over 130 countries
- Eddie Oygur was found to have infringed Deckers’ trademarks, but appealed the decision
- Mr Oygur says he has no choice but to take the case to the United States Supreme Court
Mr Oygur, the owner of Australian Leather, has now vowed to fight to be able to sell sheepskin boots outside of Australia to the United States Supreme Court.
The multi-year battle over the ugg brand began in 2016, when Deckers sued Mr. Oygur and his company for selling a dozen ugg boots in the United States.
In 2019, a Chicago jury found that Mr. Oygur and Australian Leather had infringed the Deckers trademark.
Mr Oygur said he was facing the collapse of his business, owing $ 450,000 ($ 572,629) in damages and millions of dollars in legal fees.
His lawyers, including former Senator Nick Xenophon, were hopeful after last week’s hearing in the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington DC.
However, on Monday, they said they were “baffled” after the appeal was dismissed for no reason.
“It cost thousands of jobs in Australia because ugg boots should be made here rather than overseas, that’s where Deckers makes them.”
While Deckers sued Mr. Oygur for selling products labeled “ugg” in the United States, Mr. Oygur’s legal arguments centered on the legitimacy of the ugg brand itself.
The term is widely used in Australia to refer to sheepskin boots, but in major markets including the US and UK Deckers owns the UGG brand.
The Court of Appeal heard Australia Leather’s argument that a rule in US trademark law – the foreign equivalents doctrine – meant that Deckers should not have been able to file an “ugg” trademark in the States – United decades earlier.
Deckers argued that the doctrine was irrelevant because the Americans did not recognize “ugg” as a descriptive term, but only as a brand name.