Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ugg under copyright threat; Sydney Morning Herald, 6/2/10

Susanna Dunkerley, Sydney Morning Herald; Ugg under copyright threat:

"The commonly used name for Australia's iconic sheepskin boots, "uggs", could be under threat of another copyright claim.

American company Deckers tried to claim the name in 2003, but the national trademark regulator ruled the term was generic and could apply to any kind of sheepskin boot.

Deckers, which owns the name Ugg Australia in other countries, has reportedly made a second attempt with IP Australia to prevent local companies from using the name.

(IP Australia is the agency that grants rights in patents, trade marks, and designs.)

It has also threatened action against Australian companies selling ugg boots on internet sites such as eBay.

Labor MP Sharryn Jackson says the government should do what it can to prevent the company from acquiring the copyright in Australia.

"Ugg boots are an Aussie icon and it is a generic term used for sheepskin boots," she told parliament.

"It's wrong that an organisation like this is able to use its strength and size to try to force an Australian industry out of business.

"Or for them to have exclusive use of the word ugg in all countries except Australia."

Ugg boots started out as an icon of the Australian surfing culture in the late 1960s and has since developed into an international fashion footwear item."

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/ugg-under-copyright-threat-20100602-wzw0.html