Fashion Law

Aquazzura Sued Steve Madden

Aquazzura sued Steve Madden

On June 23, Aquazzura filed a fashion law action against Steve Madden. The allegations include design patent & trade dress infringement, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices.

The complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York.

Aquazzura sued Steve Madden - Should a judge find Steve Madden's shoes are too similar to Aquazzura's?- Fashion Law Post
Aquazzura’s distinctive designs made it quickly well known in the fashion industry.

The complaint explains that after its 2011 launch, Aquazzura skyrocketed to fame. And since then Steve Madden has continuously tried profiting off of Aquazzura’s popularity and success.

Suggested: Aquazzura’s lawsuit against Ivanka Trump

Steve Madden allegedly has a business centered around copying popular designs.

In the filed complaint, Aquazzura calls out Steve Madden on its predatory business model. Aquazzura wrote that Steve Madden depends on copying the shoes pictured above (included in the filings) and other popular designs.

Aquazurra’s stance is that the only change in Steve Madden’s designs are that they produce lower quality products than Aquazzura. Since 2013, Aquazzura has sent letters of complaint to Steve Madden for its knockoffs.

How low quality knockoffs can damage the original designer’s reputation.

There are many ways that knockoffs can damage the original designer’s reputation. Aquazzura note’s the following:

“Defendant’s flagrant copying of multiple of Plaintiff’s well-known designs is likely to cause consumers to falsely believe that Defendant’s products come from or otherwise are associated with Plaintiff and to harm Plaintiff and the substantial goodwill it has developed in its proprietary designs and trade dress.”

Aquazzura holds a patent for at least one of its shoe designs.

Aquazzura Patent SRL-D750,359

Below is a mix of Aquazzura and Steve Madden shoes matching the SRL-D750,359 shoe design patent.

Example scenario of reputation damage caused by a bad knockoff.

If Jane Doe hears someone complaining of shoe pain and lack of support while wearing the Steve Madden Kaitlynn shoes she might wrongly associate that person’s experience with a lack of quality and comfort in Aquazzura’s Belgravia Pumps. The assumption here is that Jane Doe would mistakenly think the Steve Madden shoes are actually Aquazzura ones.

Aquazzura’s heels are actually often noted for their comfort.

The shoes made Elle’s list of “The 7 Most Comfortable High Heels” in May 2016. In a previous Elle issue, while referring to the Sexy Thing, a writer described Aquazzura pumps as “the most comfortable heels around.”

—The Sexy Thing was the first fashion success. And that signature design is followed by the popular Wild Thing, and the Christy.

Could you tell the difference between Aquazzura and Steve Madden shoes from this post?

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