Eddie Oygur, an ugg boot maker from Western Sydney, has lost his court battle with US footwear giant Deckers.
Oygur runs a company called Australian Leather, and was sued by the giant after he sold 13 pairs of boots to American customers. While in Australia ‘ugg boot’ is a generic, colloquial term referring to sheepskin lined slipper boots, Deckers owns the company UGG and claimed Oygur’s use of the word was trademark infringement.
Deckers owns the UGG trademarks in markets such as the US and the UK.
In 2019, a jury in Chicago found in favour of Deckers, and Oygur was ordered to pay US$450,00 – or AU$574,560. The jury said that while ugg was a colloquial term in Australia, it did not share the same meaning in the US, and found that the word ugg was not subject to the doctrine of foreign equivalents. This is a guideline preventing foreign words for categories from being trademarked in the US.
Ogyur’s lawyers then appealed the decision in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C. In his appeal case, Ogyur argued that the doctrine of foreign equivalents should have prevented the trademark of the word uggs at all.
On Monday the appeal was rejected with no reason given.
Speaking outside the Court of Appeals Oygur said, “this is not just about me, it is about Australia taking back ‘ugg’.”
“The trademark should never have been given in the first place to the U.S.”
Oygur now wants to take his appeal to the US Supreme Court.
Featured Image: iStock/Christopher Davidson
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