The Italian house on Friday filed suit against Steve Madden in Georgia federal court, accusing the shoe and accessories brand of infringing on two copyrights covering its double purse design and a strap with embroidered butterflies meant to be interchangeable with its popular “Rockstud” tote.
Valentino showed images of the Steve Madden designs at issue in its complaint. One photo is of a leather tote purse Steve Madden sold for $138 with the same overall shape and design elements, including metal and colored studs and a tribal-inspired stripe, as a style of in Valentino’s “Rockstud” collection. The extra strap retailing for $30 is also nearly identical to a Valentino design, save for different colored hardware.
Valentino’s “Rockstud” accessories, including bags and shoes, have been wildly popular since hitting the street style scene in 2014, when Maria Grazia Chiuri was still at the design helm with Pierpaolo Piccioli. Chiuri is now leading design at Dior and Piccoli is flying solo at Valentino.
The Valentino tote style allegedly being knocked off by Steve Madden retails online for between roughly $2,500 and $3,500, depending on the size and style, and the “Camubutterfly” strap for $1,045.
By using Valentino’s copyrighted designs, the house claims Steve Madden has violated its “exclusive rights.”
Moreover, Valentino claims that Steve Madden “used the double purse design and Camubutterfly strap design with full knowledge of Valentino’s interests” and said discovery is likely to show the alleged infringement has been “willful and intentional, in disregard of and with indifference to the rights of Valentino.”
With that, the house asked that it be awarded unspecified damages for each infringing item, along with any profits realized from the sale of the products at issue.
A Steve Madden spokesman declined to comment on the allegations, saying the company had yet to be served with the lawsuit.
This isn’t the first time the brand has been accused of using copyrighted designs for its own gain.
Steve Madden is fighting it out in California court with Dr. Martens over the English shoe company’s popular boot. While Dr. Martens claims a Steve Madden lace-up boot copies its trade tress and sole designs, the New York brand argued last month that the designs are too “generic” to be protected.
Less than a year ago, Italian luxury footwear firm Aquazzura Italia Srl accused the brand of trade dress infringement over three shoe designs. The parties are in ongoing settlement talks, according to court records.
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