Manish S. Shah

Judge Boots Foreign Trademark Genericide Defense

Deckers Outdoor Corp. v. Australian Leather Pty Ltd. (N.D. Ill. Sept. 13, 2018)

Last Thursday, a court in the Northern District of Illinois upheld the trademark “UGG” for wool-lined boots against charges of genericide. The plaintiff’s survey evidence showed that U.S. shoe consumers mostly understand “UGG” to refer to a brand rather than a type of boot. The defendant, however, submitted evidence showing that sheep-skin boots were popular with Australian surfers as far back as the 1970s, many of whom referred to them generically as “ugg boots.” The defendant also presented evidence that some American surfers use the term “ugg boots” generically as well, likely due to overlap in the surfing communities. READ MORE