What brand is the shoe to the left?
What about the shoe on the right?
The shoe to the left is Loeffler Randall® brand.
The shoe to the right is Skecher® brand.
You probably aren’t alone if you thought both these shoes were Crocs® brand. In fact, Crocs, Inc. is suing Loeffler Randall and Skecher for trademark infringement.
Crocs Inc. owns more than 30 U.S. trademark registrations, including two for the designs on the shoe. Here are the images and the written descriptions that are part of the registrations:
- “13 round holes on the horizontal portion of the upper of the shoe”
- “a textured strip along the vertical portion of the upper having a pattern of 7 trapezoidal openings”
Does that mean the Loeffler Randall shoe isn’t infringing because it has 15 holes? And the Skecher shoe isn’t infringing because it doesn’t have 7 trapezoidal openings?
The defendants will make those arguments but, remember, in order to be infringing, the other shoes don’t have to been an exact match, they only have to be “confusingly similar.” If you and other consumers are likely to think the shoes are Crocs brand shoes, Crocs Inc. could win.
It’s going to be expensive for Crocs Inc. to defend its registrations but, with trademarks, it’s either defend it or lose it. With a ruling in hand, Crocs Inc. can have U.S. Customs stop shipments at the border, making it easier for Crocs to keep the design trademarks strong.
Big thank you to Liz B. for the email that led to this post.