Deckers Brands has won another round in a dispute with Australian Leather regarding the use of the Ugg trademark.
In 2016, the American company, which owns the Ugg brand, sued Eddie Oygur and his company Australian Leather for selling sheepskin boots as uggs in the U.S. In Australia, ugg is a generic name for sheepksin boots.
In 2019, the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that Oygur and Australian Leather had infringed Deckers’ trademark. Oygur claims that he is facing bankruptcy, owing $450,000 in damages and millions in legal fees, and will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This is not just about me; it is about Australia taking back ugg,” he was quoted as saying.
In the 1980s, the Australian businessman Brian Smith registered the brand Ugg in the U.S. and Deckers, which bought the brand from Smith, trademarked it in 1995. The American company now holds the trademark in over 130 countries.
Australia Leather argued that under the doctrine of foreign equivalents, Deckers should not have been authorized to trademark the ugg name. Deckers stated that the argument was not relevant because Americans did not recognize ugg as a generic term but as a brand.