LONDON – The chief executive officer of footwear brand Aquazzura shed some light Monday on why his company has filed suit against Ivanka Trump.
Jean-Michel Vigneau, head of the Italy-based firm, issued a statement addressing why the brand decided to take legal action in a New York court over the brand’s Wild Thing sandals. Vigneau said the suede-fringed sandal has become a brand signature, and argues that Trump’s label carries an almost identical fringed sandal called the Hettie.
“Aquazzura cannot allow its well-known, signature styles to be copied as it undermines Aquazzura’s brand identity and confuses the public. Over the past two years, Aquazzura has repeatedly objected to Ivanka Trump’s shoe designs.
“Aquazzura will not tolerate confusing imitations in the marketplace and for this reason Aquazzura is on the front line in the battle to defend the authenticity of the brand and its designs to protect the consumer,” said Vigneau.
“If a company is allowed to use designs that they did not create which consumers recognize as Aquazzura, then the original designs are compromised. We are confident that the law will not allow the type of copying that we have seen here.”
Marc Fisher, the footwear firm that manufactures Ivanka Trump footwear under license, is among the defendants. Matthew Burris, chief financial officer of Marc Fisher, said, “This is a baseless lawsuit aimed at generating publicity. The shoe in question is representative of a trending fashion style, is not subject to intellectual property law protection and there are similar styles made by several major brands. The lawsuit is without merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves against the claim.”
The lawsuit was filed last Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, and alleges trade dress infringement, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices.