Deckers told a California federal court on Wednesday that Sears Roebuck and Kmart Corp., both wholly owned subsidiaries the long-struggling of Sears Holdings Corp., are selling a near-exact replica of its Yoga Sling sandal.
The sandal is sold under Deckers’ Sanuk brand and the company said the design has “achieved a high degree of consumer recognition and secondary meaning” and has become “one of the most well-recognized and commercially successful” styles for the brand.
The sandal’s toe, foot and ankle straps are made from two pieces of stretch fabric, setting it apart from other sling sandals.
But through the Bongo and Athletech brands, both owned by Sears, Deckers says Sears and Kmart are selling knock-offs without permission.
The company added that Sears and Kmart copied the sandal “in an effort to exploit Deckers’ reputation in the market,” according to the complaint.
There’s also a big price gap between the original and allegedly copycat sandals. While Sanuk’s go for $38, those sold at Sears and Kmart retail for about $9.
However, Deckers doesn’t appear to have a patent or a trademark for the sandal design. Instead, it’s relying on the idea that it’s gained common law rights to the trade dress through its creation of and investment in the shoe.
A representative of Sears could not be reached for comment.
Deckers is seeking unspecified damages in excess of $1 million for the alleged trade dress infringement, and asked the court to order Sears and Kmart to stop the manufacture and sale of the sandals and hand over any profits gained from their sale.
In separate lawsuits, Deckers is also accusing a number of other, smaller retailers of manufacturing and selling copies of its popular Bailey Button Boot, a shearling slip-on boot with a side button closure sold under its marquee Ugg brand.
Forever Link, Step Up, Shoe Whatever, JJF Shoes and SFY Global are all California-based retailers being accused of knocking off the boot design.
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