Maddens Gone Mad?

Steve Madden has a unique response to Dr. Martens IP infringement claims. We’re not sure we buy it.

AirWair International, a subsidiary of Dr. Martens footwear, filed a lawsuit against Steve Maddens for  an apparent trade dress infringement. Apparently, Madden “knowingly and intentionally” copied the Dr. Martens’ 1460 Boot.

Dr. Martens’ initially alleged that this “exceptional case” and that Steve Maddens “knowingly and intentionally copied Dr. Martens’ trade dress.” But, Dr. Martens wasn’t done there! The claim continued to state that the defendant “acted with knowledge of the fame and reputation of the Dr. Martens trade dress with the purpose to … willfully and intentionally confuse, mislead, and deceive member of the public.” And apparently, Dr. Martins consumers have in fact been confused with the sale of similar Steve Madden shoes.

But Steve Madden doesn’t plan to back down. They claim that what they are being sued for  are “generic elements of a functional item,” which “[have] not acquired distinctiveness, secondary meaning or served as a source identifier.” (Note: these are a few of the elements as stated by U.S. law that are required in order to claim trade dress infringement).

But,  Steve Madden wasn’t quite done there! Clearly annoyed at Dr. Martens, the defendant argued that four trade dress registrations that Dr. Martens has obtained are in fact invalid and should be cancelled due to over breadth and generality.

Do you think Steve Maddens has a solid argument? Or, has Maddens gone mad?


Information gathered from The Fashion Law.

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