Italian luxury footwear firm Aquazzura Italia SRL has chosen to spend part of the summer at the courthouse fighting alleged copycats — the company filed its second lawsuit this month alleging infringement claims, this time against Steve Madden Ltd.
The lawsuit against Steve Madden was filed on Thursday in a Manhattan federal court, two days after it filed a similar lawsuit against Ivanka Trump and the company’s licensee. In Aquazzura’s complaint against Steve Madden, the Italian firm alleged three claims for trade dress infringement and federal and state law claims of unfair competition. The lawsuit also alleged violation of New York’s laws regarding deceptive and unfair trade practices, as well as infringement of a design patent.
The three claims for trade dress are over its Sexy Thing, Wild Thing and Christy shoe designs. The Steve Madden designs that were alleged to be infringing are Sharliet, said to be too much alike to Aquazzura’s Sexy Thing, a stiletto-heeled bootie, with a three-pronged cloverleaf cutout, open toe and tie closure at the back of the ankle; Sassey, said to be too similar to Aquazzura’s Wild Thing, a stiletto-heel shoe featuring an open toe, fringed vamp and ankle-wrap closure made of tasseled string; and Lecrew, which Aquazzura complained was close to its Christy design, a pointed-toe shoe with scalloped sides, lace ties forming a criss-cross pattern over the wearer’s foot.
The court document also alleged that Steve Madden has copied its shoe designs before. Aquazzura said that in 2014 Steve Madden sold its Daayna styled shoe, which the Italian firm said was a knockoff of its Belgravia flat. And a year later, Steve Madden began selling its Kaitlynn shoe, which the Italian firm said looks like its Belgravia pump.
The lawsuit said that “Defendant’s flagrant copying of multiple of Plaintiff’s well-known designs is likely to cause consumers to falsely believe that Defendant’s products come from or otherwise are associated with Plaintiff and to harm Plaintiff and the substantial goodwill it has developed in its proprietary designs and trade dress.”
Edgardo Osorio, who worked for both Salvatore Ferragamo and Roberto Cavalli, founded Aquazzura in 2011. The court document said the shoe design that “launched Aquazzura’s success” was its Sexy Thing design.
Aquazzura is seeking an injunction barring the manufacture and sale of the alleged infringing styles, delivering up for destruction the alleged infringing goods, and an accounting of profits and damages.
Representatives for Steve Madden did not return any requests for comment.