(CN) – Having already sold 10,000 pairs of its signature clog before obtaining registration of its design in the EU, Crocs failed Wednesday to overturn an invalidity judgment at the European General Court.
It was a French company called Gifi Diffusion that applied in 2013 to invalidate the design.
Gifi noted that, while the distributor Western Brands had registered the design with the European Union Intellectual Property Office in 2004, Crocs had already been in business for two years.
Crocs originally marketed its signature foam clog as a boating shoe and sold out of its first 200 pairs at a boat show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Though the Niwot, Colorado-based company claimed that its sales were exclusive to Florida and Colorado in the early years, the European General Court found this claim at odds with a printout from the Crocs website that showed Crocs had been doing business with retailers across the United States, “namely in Vermont, South Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and New York State and the state of Washington.”
“It is thus unlikely,” the ruling states, “given the importance for the EU market of commercial trends on the U.S. market, that it went unnoticed by the circles specialized in the sector concerned, operating within the European Union.”
Crocs had appealed to the General Court after EUIPO, short for the European Union Intellectual Property Office, invalidated its design.
The Luxembourg-based court confirmed EUIPO’s decision Wednesday.