Walmart is getting no love from Uggs’ creator Deckers Outdoor Corp., and rightfully so.
On Wednesday, February 14th, Deckers sued Walmart Inc. and Reliable Knitting Works in California federal court, alleging that Walmart infringed the Uggs trademark and patent by selling counterfeit versions of one of their popular boots.
The complaint – complete with hearts as bullet points – alleges that Reliable Knitting’s “Muk Luks” line of boots copies the Ugg “Bailey Button” design and that Walmart sold the knockoffs at stores across the country. Both boots are suede, “have overlapping front and rear panels on the lateral side of the boot shaft” and “curved top edges on the overlapping panels.” Deckers states, “The Bailey Button Boot Trade Dress, which is a composite of the above- referenced features, is non-functional in its entirety, visually distinctive, and is unique in the footwear industry…. [it] is one of the most well-recognized and commercially successful styles of Deckers’ UGG brand of footwear.”
Walmart and Reliable Knitting Works don’t have much of a defense of “I didn’t know.” Deckers holds both a trademark and a patent — U.S. Patent No. D599,999 — for the boot. The company alleges that all the labeling on all its relevant footwear is marked with the patent number. That, and the boots’ popularity, was enough to put both defendants on notice of their design.
It also isn’t the first time that Deckers has sued Walmart or another store for selling knockoffs. In 2017, Deckers sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Sears and two other retailers for infringing Uggs footwear trade dress and design patents.
Who will come out on top this time? Stay tuned.