Calze del Mondo, an importer of fashion accessories, has been ordered not to sell shoes that resemble the familiar coloured plastic shoes made by Crocs. The district court in The Hague published the ruling on 1 June 2011 in a case brought by Crocs.
Consignment of 53,000 fake shoes
In March 2011, the customs seized a consignment of more than 53,000 plastic shoes modelled on those of Crocs. They were made in China and destined for the German market. Once Crocs had been notified of the haul, it immediately had the shoes impounded and began legal proceedings against Calze del Mondo.
The court ruled that the fake shoes infringed Crocs’ copyright to the ‘Beach’ model. Despite having a different heel strap, the overall impression was that both shoes were very similar, the court concluded.
Other similar models
In a bid to undermine Crocs’ claim, Calze responded that there were many other Crocs imitations on the market which the shoe-maker had ignored. However, the court rejected this defence. Even if it were true, it said, Crocs was not obliged to oppose all potential infringements of its copyright, nor did it have to tell Calze del Mondo why it was taking legal action in this particular case.