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Dr. Martens sues Yoox for trademark infringement

Airwair International Ltd, the company that makes Dr. Martens, is suing Yoox-Net-A-Porter Group for selling shoes that, it claims, look too much like its iconic lace-up boots.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, alleges trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition, according to Reuters, which first reported the story.

Dr. Martens is reportedly calling for a preliminary injunction against the online retailer.

This isn’t the first time the British brand has sued a competitor for ripping off its designs.

In 2017, Airwair International slapped US-based shoe brand Steve Madden with a lawsuit for trademark infringement, claiming that it unlawfully copied Dr. Martens’ two tone grooved sole edge, DMS undersole and heel loop.

In 2013, the company sued US-based shoe brand Chinese Laundry, citing similar trademark infringements.

Italian shoe brand Aquazzura Italia SRL last year accused Ivanka Trump of a similar infringement, after Trump’s eponymous fashion label released a shoe that looked like a clone of Aquazzura’s original, and much more expensive, design.

The line between inspiration and duplication is thin, and the knockoff problem is certainly not confined to the footwear category.

In July, Aldi pulled a $69 wooden stool from stores that was due to go on sale, citing production issues. However, the announcement coincided with a petition from the Design Institute of Australia, urging the German supermarket to pull what it said was a copy of Australian designer Mark Tuckey’s Egg Cup stool.

DIA chief executive officer Jo-Ann Kellock told at the the time that Australia’s current intellectual property laws are inadequate to deal with the problem of copies.

“IP Australia is currently considering if Australia should join The Hague Agreement (which) would afford Australian designers protection against replicas in multiple countries or regions with minimal formalities,” she said.

Inside Retail has contacted Dr. Martens and Yoox-Net-A-Porter Group for comment.

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