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Target Under Fire—Again—for Alleged Copycat Designs

In a bid to protect its iconic (and ultra-lucrative) product line, Ugg is taking Target to court for infringing on its designs.

The retailer and the sheepskin boot brand have danced this dance before—three years ago, Target was sued for making and marketing a near-identical version of Ugg’s Bailey Button Boot. Now, the same style is at the center of the controversy, and Ugg’s parent company, Deckers, is suing both Target and Iconix Brand Group for trade dress and patent infringement, along with unfair competition. The lawsuit was filed last week at the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

In the lawsuit, Deckers claimed that the retailer and the brand management firm (licensee of Target’s Mossimo Supply Co. line), “have designed, manufactured, advertised, marketed, distributed, offered for sale and/or sold accused products that bear designs almost identical to” the Bailey Button Boot.

“Due to its long use, extensive sales and significant advertising and promotional activities, Deckers’ Bailey Button boot trade dress has achieved widespread acceptance and recognition among the consuming public,” the lawsuit stated, calling into question the necessity of copying one of Ugg’s most recognizable styles.

The company accused the retailer and Iconix of actions that were “willful, deliberate, and intended to confuse the public,” and alleged that the lookalike footwear served the “calculated purpose of misappropriating Deckers’ goodwill and reputation in the market.”

Ugg and Deckers are now seeking a permanent injunction against Target and Iconix Brand Group which would prevent them from manufacturing the boot in question, and demanding “all gains, profits and advantages” resulting from the sale of the shoe.

The offensive strike comes just two months after the footwear brand sued Walmart, Kmart and Aeropostale for near-identical infractions related to the Bailey Button Boot.

Separately, at the end of May, Deckers filed a lawsuit against CVS Pharmacy for allegedly infringing upon the Sanuk brand’s popular thong sandal design, called the Yoga Sling Sandal.