January 26, 2022
A years-long trademark battle between UGG® owner, Deckers Outdoor Corp. (“Deckers”), and Australian Leather Pty. Ltd (“Australian Leather”) has finally come to an end after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case. The Illinois District Court’s original ruling that Australian Leather had infringed Deckers’ trademark will stand.
In 2016, Deckers sued Australian Leather alleging it had infringed Deckers’ long-registered UGG® trademark by selling UGG-branded boots in the U.S. Australian Leather sought a declaration that the UGG® trademark was invalid, pointing to the doctrine of foreign equivalents and claiming that “ugg” is a generic term for sheepskin boots, and therefore should not be afforded protection.
The District Court rejected Australian Leather’s arguments and awarded Deckers $450,000 in damages. Its decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court declined to grant certioriari, leaving the lower court’s decision in place.
Authors: Em Windrim and Larissa Fulop