The Ugg Boot Controversy in Australia


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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:

Price:

Case Code : BENV020 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges

Themes

Legal environment/ Trademark
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 2003-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Deckers Outdoor Corporation
Industry : Footwear
Countries : Australia, USA

Abstract:

This case is about the trademark controversy surrounding Ugg Boots. Ugg Boots or Uggs is a generic term for sheep skin boots that are widely used in Australia for over 200 years. The controversy arose after US-based Deckers Outdoor Corporation (Deckers) issued notices to Australian sheep skin shoe manufacturers to stop using the word 'Ugg'to market their products. Deckers claimed that it acquired the trademark for Uggs from Australian surfer Brian Smith, through the acquisition of Ugg Holdings Inc in 1995. By early 2000s Deckers positioned Uggs as a high-end luxury product and its popularity grew manifold particularly in the US and Europe.

At the same time, several Australian manufacturers started selling Uggs in the US, and Deckers asked Australian manufacturers to stop using the word Ugg or face legal action. The case discusses in detail the events leading to the legal battle between Deckers and Australian manufacturers and concludes with the details of the outcome.

Issues:

Study the origin of Ugg Boots.

Understand the controversy related to Ugg trademark.

Evaluate the claims made by Deckers and Australian sheepskin manufacturers.

Analyze the outcome of the controversy and how it would affect the market for sheep skin boots in Australia.

Contents:

  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Ugg Travels to America 3
The Controversy 4
Deckers' Claim 5
The Aussie Claim 6
The Legal Battle and Aftermath 7
Exhibits 9

Keywords:

Business environment, Legal environment, Trademarks, Luxury fashion footwear, Sheepskin boots, Australia, Ugg Boots, Decker

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