Brit footwear brand, Dr. Martens has slapped fellow footwear company, Chinese Laundry with a lawsuit. In its complaint, which was filed this week in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, AirWair International Ltd. (Dr. Martens' parent company) alleges that Chinese Laundry has violated its registered trade dress, saying: “Chinese Laundry’s conduct in copying AirWair’s registered Trade Dress Marks has been systematic and deliberate. Chinese Laundry has copied the Trade Dress and the overall style and configuration of Dr. Martens boots and shoes as closely as possible in a deliberate and calculated attempt to trade upon the popularity and distinctive appearance and design of Dr. Martens footwear.” In particular, AirWair is taking issue with the "yellow stitching in the welt area, a two-toned grooved sole edge and a DMS undersole design that are Dr. Martens signatures."
The lawsuit hardly comes as a surprise, as Chinese Laundry is not exactly the epitome of original design. (You likely already know that the brand regularly stocks an array of Jenni Kayne and Christian Louboutin copies). So, what does AirWair want? Well, in addition to injunctive relief (which means that Chinese Laundry would be ordered by the court to permanently and immediately cease sales of the infringing styles), Dr. Martens' parent company wants any profits that Chinese Laundry gained from sales of the offending shoes or statutory damages in an amount of not more than $1 million per counterfeit mark per good sold or offered for sale by Chinese Laundry. Ouch.