17 Aug Crocs, Inc. Vows to Appeal U.S. Patent Office Clog Design Ruling
Crocs, Inc. announced its disagreement with the decision recently issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) relating to one of its many design patents, as well as several subsequent and needlessly dramatic headlines, and its plans to appeal the ruling.
Crocs has been fighting the patent battle with USA Dawgs since 2006, claiming that Dawgs and others have been infringing on Crocs’ D517789 (‘789) design patent.
In its ruling, the USPTO found the patent issued to Crocs in 2006, which covers the design of its Classic Clog, to be invalid for technical reasons related to Crocs own early sales. Crocs will dispute this analysis in its appeal.
“The impact of this ruling has been greatly exaggerated in certain news reports,” said Daniel P. Hart, EVP and Chief Legal Officer at Crocs. “We are confident in the appeals process and, moreover, we have plans in place to continue to protect our Classic Clog design well beyond the life of this particular patent. Crocs will continue to aggressively enforce our intellectual property portfolio against those who unfairly trade on Crocs’ goodwill and reputation.”
The recent decision is simply the next step in the administrative process, allowing Crocs to appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and eventually the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that ruled in its favor in enforcement of the same patent during its successful International Trade Commission case.
The USPTO’s decision has no immediate or long-term material negative impact on Crocs’ business. Nor has Crocs’ business been adversely impacted over the last five years, since the USPTO first reexamined validity issues with regards to the patent.
It is important to note that the patent at issue remains valid and enforceable during the appeals process, which can take many years to complete. Throughout, Crocs will continue to be a world leader in innovative casual footwear, inspiring customers to express their one-of-a-kindness and to be comfortable in their own shoes.