Anyone Can Make Croc Knockoffs, EU Court Rules

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Balenciaga’s Crocs.

Who would have thought that Crocs would be the subject of not one but TWO court cases protecting the novelty and integrity of their designs? Or, for that matter, that the fashion world would be watching?

Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia and Christopher Kane have done the lord’s/devil’s work, popularizing bedazzled and fur-lined Crocs as a status symbol. Meanwhile, though, the Colorado-based brand has been embroiled in two lawsuits, one in the U.S. (with similar ugly-shoe brand Dawgs) and one in the European Union’s general court. The EU ruled on Wednesday that anyone can make Crocs-style shoes and cancelled the registration of the design, leaving Crocs unprotected.

This suit goes back to 2013, when French brand Gifi argued that the Crocs slip-on lacked novelty (debatable) and therefore couldn’t be protected, according to The Fashion Law. The decision was upheld first by EU’s intellectual property office in 2016, and yesterday by the general court. Parisian and Milanese designers: You’re free to keep on producing $800 renditions of $40 shoes.

Anyone Can Make Crocs Knockoffs, Court Rules