In addition to teaming up with some major fashion names over the past several years (think: Missoni, Versace, etc.), Havaianas has been policing its trademarks quite a bit, filing suits in an array of different courts. The Brazilian footwear brand, which was founded in the late 1950′s and stocks worldwide, is known for its rubber flip flops that bear its graphic trademark – a pattern that adorns the soles of the sandals to resemble the straw soles of Japanese sandals. Sao Paulo Alpargatas, the company that owns the Havaianas intellectual property, has international trademark rights in its portfolio and has been policing those trademarks. (It federally registered its name in 1962).
The most recent ruling for the brand comes by way of the Paris Court of Appeals, which held that the brand’s trademark, is, in fact, valid, despite the lower court’s ruling to the contrary. Earlier this month, the court held that the trademarked Havaianas pattern, which is “composed of two symmetrical sequences of geometrical figures in the form of an elongated S,” is “readily identifiable” as a source indicator of the sandal company by a significant portion of the consuming public. As such, the court held that the trademark is both “distinctive” and valid. The court further held that the defendant, Too Beach, a French wholesaler, had infringed that mark, and must pay damages and immediately and permanently cease sales of the infringing sandals.