The battle for the Ugg boot is a story about cultural identity and survival in the age of globalisation. The 'David and Goliath' plot pits a small group of Australian manufacturers and their distributors, against a large US corporation that have claimed Aussie icon, the Ugg boot, as its own. This has triggered a conflict that will set precedents for trademarks and branding worldwide.
For over 100 years the ugg boot has been an Australian icon. Now through a bizarre comedy of errors the ‘ugg’ trademark is owned by an aggressive US corporation. Deckers Outdoor Corporation have called their new brand of ugg boots “Ugg Australia.”
The story begins at Christmas 2003 when Ugg boot manufacturers worldwide receive a letter from Deckers Outdoor Corporation demanding that they cease using the word Ugg or Ugh or be sued.
Enter the McDougalls who have been making and selling ugg boots through their family business for 27 years. The McDougalls decide to fight. They sue Deckers back saying that Ugg is a generic term and should never have been trade marked in the first place. But they have to prove it. Bruce sets out to gather the evidence.He eventually does this and WINS!!!
At the same time another small family business in the US are being sued by Deckers for calling their boots uggs. The Severns have been selling Australian sheep skin boots in the US for 40 years. They also decide to sue Deckers back saying it is not a legitimate American trademark. If they lose their Australian supplier Robert Brody Hall will have to put off workers or close.
Following the dramatic twists and turns of both these cases The Good The Bad and The Ugg Boot uncovers the strange history of the ugg boot and how it became a global fashion sensation. But it is the build up to the legal showdowns that keep the story on an emotional roller coaster right up to the surprising conclusion.
Australia made Ugg boots
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4 May 2010
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