Local Boot Label Sues for Knockoffs | The Feast
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Style Showdowns by Chantal Gordon Sep 19, 03:52PM in Shop

S.D. Footwear Brand Sues Two Companies for Knocking Off Its Designs

S.D. Footwear Brand Sues Two Companies for Knocking Off Its Designs
Amazon It's a classic Western-style showdown: S.D.'s own Old Gringo — known for its artisan-crafted cowboy boots — says it's been bedeviled by knockoffs of its designs. Shown here, the Marsha boot (left) by Old Gringo and the Coral boot by Lucky Brand.

Christian Louboutin isn’t the only shoemaker suing other companies for copying its work. Here in S.D., Chula Vista-based Old Gringo is suing both Lucky Brand and Pecos Bill, saying the labels knocked off its cowboy boots, as WWD first reported.

The Lucky lawsuit happened earlier this year and involved Old Gringo’s bestselling women’s Marsha boot that has been on the market for six years, Old Gringo president Ernie Tarut tells The Feast. “We used to sell more and more and more every year, then suddenly sales in Europe went from thousands to zero,” Tarut says. “We go to court [this] week to try to settle.”

The Marsha boot and the Coral boot by Liz Claiborne-owned Lucky Brand both feature pink flowers with curling stems embroidered all over the shoes. Both can currently be found on Amazon; Lucky’s boot (synthetic sole; made in China) for a reduced $74 price tag and Old Gringo’s (all leather save for the embroidery and handmade in Mexico) for $429.95. It’s the art specifically that Tarut says has been copied. “I hire artists to draw up original artwork on a palette and on specific instructions. Whoever goes after my artwork, we will bring them to San Diego federal court.”

That’s no empty threat; in late August, Old Gringo filed suit again, this time against bootmaker Pecos Bill, which the S.D. company says copied its Grace, Milagros and Taka Stud boots. And it all went down at one of fashion’s biggest tradeshows.

“I was at Magic [four] weeks ago, and two booths down he had copied three of my styles,” Tarut says. “I went over and said, ‘You’ve got my artwork copied, I’ll need to contact my lawyer,’ and he said, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ll remove [the boots].’ The next day the styles were still there — they hadn’t done anything, and he told me, ‘Get out of here.’ So we drew up papers and served him at the show.”

Tarut says it isn’t about the dollars. “All I want to do is stop the process,” he says. “I don’t do it to win money. I don’t mind competition — I’m just trying to protect the integrity of the work we do.”

Pecos Bill was unavailable for comment, and Lucky Brands did not respond by deadline.

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TAGS: Boots, Shoes, Knockoffs, Cowboy Boots, Lucky Brand, Controversy