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Crocs claims Rivers stole its famous sandal design

US sandal brand Crocs is taking Mosaic Brands’ Rivers to court over a perceived infringement on the trademark of its famous footwear.

According to a report in the AFR, Crocs lodged an action against Mosaic Brands in the Federal Court of Australia claiming it has misled and deceived customers by selling ‘fake’ Crocs alongside ‘real’ Crocs, and has “fragrantly disregarded” its trademark to make a profit by using its design.

“[Mosaic Brands] has promoted, offered for sale and sold one or more of the infringing goods in Australia under and by reference to the word ‘crocs’,” the statement of claim reads.

Mosaic Brands said it intends to fight the claims in court, according to the AFR.

Brisbane intellectual property and trademark lawyer Nicole Murdoch said Mosaic may argue that, since Crocs’ shape has become distinctive, the references to Crocs could be referring to the shape rather than the brand, which could set the stage for such a design to be considered ‘generic’ in Australia.

“Companies can become victims of their own success,” Murdoch said.

“Their products [become] so famous that people start to associate a brand with the actual function of the product.”

Murdoch also noted that while Rivers’ design is similar, it is not an exact match to Crocs’ trademarked sandal, which could cause Crocs’ claim of trademark infringement to be shot down.

Crocs is seeking damages, or an account of profit for the alleged trademark infringement, as well as compensation for perceived lost sales and brand damage.

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