THE FASHION LAW EXCLUSIVE - One of the fashion industry's favorite footwear brands, Aquazzura, filed a trade dress infringement suit against Ivanka Trump and her licensee, Marc Fisher, in June, alleging that the potential First Daughter copied one of its best-selling and most “distinctive” shoe designs. According to Florence-based Aquazzura’s complaint, which was filed in the Southern District of New York, a federal court in Manhattan, Ivanka Trump and Marc Fisher are producing footwear that “mimics every key element of the trade dress of Aquazzura’s well-known and distinctive” shoes, in particular, a $145 "exact copy" of its own $700+ Wild Thing style.
Trump and co. have since filed their answer (the legal term for their response) to the lawsuit that Aquazzura initiated against them. Trump’s legal team denied the claims, asserting that the Ivanka Trump shoe style in question, called Hettie, does not violate trade dress laws, create unfair competition or unfair trade practices.
In addition to filing their answer, Trump and Fisher also filed a counterclaim seeking a ruling from the court that the Aquazzura shoes in question are, in fact, not subject to trademark protection (and therefore, Trump/Fisher can continue to sell them without fear of future litigation from Aquazzura). According to Trump’s team, the Wild Thing design “lacks secondary meaning and does not function as an indicator of source” and thus, should not be protected by trademark law.
Even more recently, Aquazzura has expanded the breadth of its trade dress infringement suit against Trump, opting to add a design patent infringement claim to the mix, as well. While Aquazzura does not hold design patent protection for its Wild Thing sandal, it does maintain design patent protection for its Christy design, which should make for a relatively easy win in terms of Trump's Tropica style, a flat with an intricate lacing design.
* The case is Aquazzura Italia SRL v. Trump et al, 1:16-CV-04782.