Edgardo Osorio’s prized sandals sit on a glass shelf inside his Madison Avenue boutique under zebra-striped archways and golden chandeliers. The shoes have skinny heels, frills, and a tassel dangling from a delicacy ankle strap that weaves up the leg. These days, they’re available in all kinds of colors and materials, but their signature suede style comes in a bold lipstick red.
Osorio, the co-founder and creative head of manner label Aquazzura, calls the sandal one of his most iconic inventions. Coveted by celebrities and manner bloggers alike, these $785 suede amounts became a true “It” shoe since gaining traction in 2015. They helped catapult the designer and his label to international prominence. So when he discovered that the clothing brand run by the daughter of now-President Donald Trump was making a similar piece for only $65, he called in the lawyers.
Fed up with alleged replication shoe layouts, Aquazzura fired off multiple lawsuits over his Wild Thing sandal. Arguably similar modes reached store shelves under labels including Mollini, Missguided, and Jessica Buurman. Aquazzura didn’t challenge the smaller brands, but instead proceeded after what he claimed to be the larger copycats: Steve Madden, Marc Fisher, and Ivanka Trump.
” One of the most disturbing things in the fashion industry is when someone blatantly steals your copyright intends and doesn’t care ,” his label posted on its Instagram report in March 2016.” You should know better. Dishonor on you @ivankatrump! Impersonation is NOT the most sincere sort of adulation .” Aquazzura sent a cease-and-desist letter addressed to Trump about the shoe, asking her company to stop selling its sandal.
” Based on Aquazzura’s prior dealings with your client’s company, and on the obvious and purposeful copying of our client’s shoe, we anticipate that you will objection Aquazzura’s rights in its intend, maintaining that the designs absence secondary mean, and that your patron is hence free to knock them off with impunity ,” the note said, citing some of the elements of violation. To eschew a court combat, Aquazzura challenged Trump’s company remove all pictures of the sandal in question from its website and social media, stop advertising the shoe, destroy all existing pairs, disclose its producer, hand over gains from sales of the offending shoe, and” concur in writing under oath not to offer for sale any knock-off” again. Aquazzura devoted Trump a week to comply, or else appearance legal action.
Trump did not comply, so 2 months later, Aquazzura sued her together with Marc Fisher. In a complaint are presented in June 2016 in Manhattan federal courtroom, the company accused Trump of infringement, unfair competition, and deceptive commerce practises.” Searching the same success Aquazzurra experienced but without having to put in the hard creative work, defendants resorted to knocking off plaintiff’s popular designs ,” the number of complaints stated. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. Darren Saunders, advocate for the defendants, said Wednesday that the two sides are in settlement talks. Solicitors for Aquazzura declined to comment.
Intellectual property spats are common in the fashion industry, but most quarrels are resolved before parties get near a courtroom. Such suits are immensely expensive, complex and can drag on for years. When a mega-company moves after a mom-and-pop, matters are often settled with a nasty letter. But when two equally matched companies with deep pockets and a record of bad blood find themselves on opposite sides, the advocates fees can add up, and a trial merely might happen.
” I’ve seen people go all the way when they can’t even afford it–to teach person a lesson ,” said trademark lawyer Sonia Lakhany.