2017-09-23 — bloomberg.com
Osorio, the co-founder and creative director of fashion label Aquazzura, calls the sandal one of his most iconic creations. Coveted by celebrities and fashion bloggers alike, these $785 suede numbers 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 item for only $65, he called in the lawyers....
To avoid a court battle, Aquazzura demanded 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 manufacturer, hand over profits from sales of the offending shoe, and "agree in writing under oath not to offer for sale any knock-off" again. Aquazzura gave Trump a week to comply, or else face legal action.
Trump did not comply, so two months later, Aquazzura sued her along with Marc Fisher. In a complaint filed in June 2016 in Manhattan federal court, the company accused Trump of infringement, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices. "Seeking 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 complaint stated. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. Darren Saunders, attorney for the defendants, said Wednesday that the two sides are in settlement talks. Lawyers for Aquazzura declined to comment.
Ivanka Trump wants nothing to do with the case, let alone a trial. She tried to duck a deposition by arguing she shouldn't be forced to testify because she isn't involved in the design or sale of her company's allegedly offending shoe.
"Trump was not aware of the Aquazzura style `Wild Thing' shoe at the time she signed off on the season line that contained the Ivanka Trump style `Hettie' shoe," Saunders, her lawyer, argued in a letter to the judge. "The burden of a deposition of Ms. Trump would far outweigh any likely benefit to Aquazzura." Saunders added that her role as a "high ranking government official" should preclude her from having to submit to a deposition. (Trump was appointed to be an assistant to her father in the White House).
On June 23, Forrest rejected Trump's argument. "She is alleged to have personal involvement in the events at issue in this lawsuit," the judge ruled. "She cannot avoid a deposition in this matter."
Ivanka Trump's fashion brand has had a rocky history when it comes to copycat allegations. Less than a year after she began selling footwear, her company was called out by New York designer label Derek Lam for allegedly copying a sandal style. A cease-and-desist letter was sent, and while Trump's representatives denied the allegations, her brand pulled the shoes from online shops and store shelves. Then in 2012, California clothing brand Mystique sued Trump's trademark holding company over a different pair of sandals. She rejected the claims. Seven months later, the parties reached a settlement.
What a surprise; a Trump family member lacking any sort of creativity or originality routinely getting in trouble for ripping-off the innovation of others...
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