Crocs Denied Patent for Plastic Shoe Design
Orange County – Crocs, the footwear company based out of Colorado, appears to be losing any hope to achieving a design patent on its well-known plastic shoes. It has taken 10 years for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to officially reject Crocs’ design patent application. Crocs’ patent had been rejected twice before but Crocs has now received a third rejection.
Despite it being Crocs third rejection, Crocs still may attempt to appeal the decision, though it is looking increasingly unlikely that Crocs will prevail in its attempt to register the design patent. Crocs assertively stated they will “continue to aggressively enforce their intellectual property.”
Crocs has other legal issues as well. USA Dawgs, which is Crocs’ main competitor, filed a lawsuit last month claiming that Crocs infringed on its design of a z-strap sandal and stated that a Crocs employee accessed internal networks illegally. Crocs has responded by stating that the lawsuit is an attempt to harass the company.
Crocs and USA Dawgs have had a long rival history. In 2006, Crocs initially accused rivals of infringing on its molded-clog design. The tables have turned against Crocs however in recent months.
Croc was hopeful that the patent appeal process would result in a favorable outcome which would strengthen its position against its competitors, but now it appears the reverse is occurring. Essentially the patent office is holding that the Crocs design is not original. The USPTO also stated that Crocs’ shoe design could be anticipated from other existing shoe designs and therefore refused to grant a patent. Crocs has claimed that its design is original but there are reports that a similar shoe design was published more than a year prior to Crocs’ design.
Crocs competitors have claimed that Crocs’ patent claims were used to suppress competitors for more than a decade. Now that the patent has been rejected once again it gives other companies, like USA Dawgs, a chance to manufacture shoes under less of a litigation threat from Crocs.
Just in case there wasn’t enough drama for Crocs already, due to slipping sales Crocs will be forced to close 160 retail stores within the next two years to make up for a recent decline in revenue.
The one shining star for Crocs, however, may be actress Drew Barrymore. Crocs’ new CEO announced plans to collaborate with the actress to renew the hype for the plastic shoe with which many have a love-hate relationship with. Many are already very optimistic with the new line of Crocs which is expected to debut Spring 2018.