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Ugg Boots and Trademarks

So, perhaps some of you have heard of Ugg Boots, or may even own a pair. I, personally, think they are not very attractive, and was a bit taken aback when they became widely popular in the US. Not surprisingly, I did not buy a pair while in the US. It wasn’t until I came here to Australia and learned about the original purpose of ugg boots that I decided to buy a pair.

People here do not wear them out of the house usually. But, everyone has a pair that they use as slippers at home. And, I must say, I am not sure I’ve had a pair of slippers that I’ve enjoyed more than my uggs. They are wonderfully warm because of the sheep wool insides.

The reason I’m posting about ugg boots, however, is because they have an interesting legal story regarding trademark law. The boots originated here in Australia (though some say New Zealand), but a company in the US recently tried to claim that Ugg was a brand, and said that all other companies had to stop selling ugg boots. The Australian courts, not surprisingly, agreed with the argument of the Australian companies that said that ugg was a generic type of boot, and not a specific brand. So, in Australia, everyone can sell ugg boots, and they’re made by a number of different companies.

In the US, however, the courts said that people recognized Ugg Australia as a brand, and not a generic type of boot, thus giving the US company the trademark rights to Ugg in America. Interesting little bit of legal trivia I’ve learned whilst living here Down Under!

If you want to read more, you can check out this article on Wikipedia, which is pretty good.

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