Dr. Martens wins boots battle against Inditex

by Vanessa Guzek

Dr Martens has won its court battle against Inditex ( Pull&Bear) in California.

AirWair, the Dr Martens maker firm, had sued Pull&Bear in 2019 for infringement of its intellectual property rights in relation to four styles of footwear commercialized by Pull&Bear in the US and also asked for financial compensation. Pull&Bear argued in front of the U.S. jury that the designs are “generic,” so there is no protection and therefore no infringement in commercializing boots similar to Dr. Marten’s footwear.

In August, the jury already rendered its verdict, considering the infringement of Dr. Martens’ intellectual property rights by Pull & Bear, but nevertheless dismissed the request for a financial compensation for such infringement.

Pull&Bear had already stopped commercializing the disputed products, but also, on November 18, 2021, the judge of the Northern District Court of California decided to permanently enjoin Inditex from designing, manufacturing, importing, exporting, distributing, licensing, selling, marketing, advertising, promoting or offering for sale in the United States the disputed Footwear or any footwear using any of the following Dr. Martens trade dress:

  • a combination of yellow stitching in the welt area, and a two-tone ribbed sole edge;
  • a sole edge that includes longitudinal ribbing, and a dark band on a light color;
  • longitudinal ribs and a dark-colored band on a light color on the outer edge of the sole, welt seams and a tongue located on top of the rear heel of the shoe;
  • and the overall visual impression of the welt stitching, the ribbed sole edge, the angled heel, the platform sole, the “quad” lug pattern and the heel loop (the “Jadon design”).

It also enjoined Inditex by its judgment from designing, manufacturing, importing, shipping, delivering, selling, marketing, displaying, advertising or promoting footwear in the United States that is a colorable or confusingly similar imitation of the Dr. Martens trade dress, and/or from representing or implying to retailers, customers, distributors, or any other customer or potential customer of Inditex’s products or any Inditex corporate affiliate (collectively, “ITX Products”) that Inditex or any Inditex corporate affiliate (collectively, “ITX Products”) is a colorable or confusingly similar imitation of Dr. Martens trade dress, and/or to represent or imply to retailers, customers, distributors, or any other customers or potential customers of Inditex products or any Inditex corporate affiliate (collectively, “ITX Products”) that the ITX Products originate from, are sponsored, endorsed, or licensed by, or are associated or affiliated with AirWair or Dr. Martens.

Here is the original text of the judgment.

Inditex has not been the only one sued. As reported by the Financial Times, in June 2021 Chinese e-commerce platform Shein is also being sued by AirWair for a “clear intent to sell counterfeits” and points to a product on the website classified as a “Martin boot” in what amounts to an infringement of the original footwear. In the lawsuit filed, AirWair accuses Shein of “not only creating direct copies” of its distinctive designs, but also using “photographs of genuine Dr. Martens footwear to lure customers to its website to purchase counterfeit copy footwear.”

Shein denied all allegations and a hearing is scheduled for the end this year. The outcome of the lawsuit against Shein is sure to be another battle won in AirWair’s favor. What do you think? Leave us your comment.




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1 comment

DG 12/23/2021 - 19:28

Very interesting,as always!!


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