UGG IS AUSTRALIAN
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UGG IS AUSTRALIAN
Just like Fetta is Greek, Champaign is French, Ferrari is Italian
By signing this petition we are asking the Australian Government to STAND UP for Australians and assist in fighting the case of Deckers v’s Australian Leather Pty Ltd
Australian Leather should not be taking this on alone!
Where is our mateship?
Where is standing up for Australia?
My name is Eddie Oygur. I started making Ugg boots 34 years ago, and this is my story.
Since 1986, together with a team of dedicated staff, we’ve proudly made hundreds of thousands of pairs of Australian made Ugg boots – which we all know are sheepskin leather boots that are super comfortable and were created in Australia in the 1960’s from the surf scene here.
They were a proudly Australian invention that found their way to other parts of the world by the later 1960’s, including the United States, where they were sold as ‘Ugg’ boots and became a hit in surfing communities across the US, from coast to coast.
So, there is no doubt in my mind that ‘Ugg’ is an Australian term and creation, made by lots of local Aussie manufacturers, exported to the world.
Then something very strange, and terrible, happened.
In 1985, Brian Smith, an expatriate Australian, applied to trademark the word ‘Ugg’ in the US, claiming that the word was not a generic term. You can only trademark a name if it has not been commonly used before, and the evidence is that it was, which makes it very strange that a trademark was granted. In fact, there are claims that the trademark should never have been granted in the first place.
But somehow the trademark was granted, and that meant that the owner of the trademark could prevent the term Ugg being used by anybody else around the world – except for Australia and New Zealand where the term Ugg was in common usage from the 1960’s.
In 1995 the US multi-national Deckers Brands bought the ‘Ugg’ trademark and since then they have sold billions and billions of dollars of Ugg boots around the world, and have stopped anybody else using the term ‘Ugg’ – even though it is a name that I believe belongs to Australia.
To add insult to injury Deckers sold their Ugg boots as being ‘Australian’, even though they were made in China and Vietnam! How is that fair?
Then in 2016 things got really ugly for me.
Thirteen pairs of Ugg boots (yes 13 pairs) and two pairs of socks were sold into the US in between 2011 and 2016 valued at about $2300, and as it turned out that four of those pairs of Ugg boots were bought by private investigators hired by Deckers!
Then, without notice, Deckers sued me for alleging breaching their intellectual property. They initially sought to freeze my assets, confiscate my boots, and they took me to Court in the US in Chicago 14,867 kms away.
Most people who have been sued by Deckers before have simply rolled over and done what Deckers has wanted them to do – basically accept without question that Deckers owns the trademark and that Ugg belongs to them around the world.
I thought that was wrong. So, I fought back.
I have spent everything I own, everything I have worked for in my entire life, to fight Deckers in the US Courts. Everything that belongs to me has gone into this fight – over $1 million spent in legal fees fighting this case.
My case eventually went before a jury in Chicago in May of last year. I really did not stand a chance. Because of the way US laws are structured, the odds were stacked against me. The jury found that I had breached Deckers intellectual property and I was hit with a penalty of $US450,000 (about $A640,000).
I have appealed against the decision as being wrong in law, and wrong on the facts, and my US lawyers have told me that I have got a good chance of winning on appeal. But Deckers continues to come at me, and they have got cost orders against me of $US2 million which means that all up they are now claiming $AUD 3.4 million.
Through their Australian lawyers they have recently threatened to sue me for that. They gave a deadline to pay up the $AUD 3.4 million dollars by this week, or else they would take me to court in Australia to enforce the judgment – even though I am appealing the decision. In Australia, the other side normally waits until an appeal has been heard. Not here, not with Deckers, not with the US legal system.
I have put everything I own into this case because I am a proud Australian that believes Ugg belongs in Australia, not just for me to use, but for every other Ugg bootmaker to be able to sell Australian made Ugg boots to the world.
· Getting the name Ugg back to Australia could be a multi-billion-dollar export industry for dozens of Ugg boot makers
· Create over 4,000 well paid jobs right here.
· Tell Deckers Aussie battlers WILL NOT BE BULLIED by anyone.
Please support UGG boots Fight
Unfortunately, the Australian Government, which has a Fund to help cases such as this, decided previously that they didn’t want to help. Maybe they consider that their relationship with the US is too important to upset over a small battling Aussie company in this David v Goliath battle. I hope that is not what you think.
Founder & Managing Director of Australian Leather Pty Ltd
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