The Margin: Crocs is suing Walmart, Hobby Lobby and 19 others for copycat clogs

Knock it off with the knockoffs.  So says Crocs
CROX,
11.49%,
a mainstay of “ugly fashion” and Gen Z style, which is suing Walmart
WMT,
0.07%,
Hobby Lobby and 19 others for copyright infringement.  In the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Colorado, Crocs alleges that the 21 businesses have been selling copycats of its classic foam clogs, which run around $50 a pair, at lower prices. 

“The rise in consumer online shopping has enabled the sale of infringing footwear on an unprecedented scale,” Crocs said in the complaint. “In 2018, Crocs’ defense efforts resulted in the termination of over 70,000 online auctions for infringing products, and the shutdown of over 1,500 websites, in the United States alone.” The 108-page suit alleges the copycats infringed on Crocs’ “iconic design marks,” including the “3D” shape and signature holes. “Crocs has suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable harm to its goodwill and reputation,” the complaint states. The shoes in question appeared to still be for sale on Walmart’s website Thursday for about $10, while Hobby Lobby has removed the shoes from its site. MarketWatch reached out to Walmart and Hobby Lobby for comment, but did not immediately hear back. Crocs was founded by three college friends in 2002, conceptualized on a sailing trip and originally marketed as a boat shoe. The polarizing slip-on has since gone mainstream in Gen Z fashion, and is even adored by celebrities.  Questlove sported a gold pair at the Oscars. Nicki Minaj wore a bedazzled, hot pink pair in an Instagram post. Even Dame Helen Mirren loves the squishy clogs. And recent collaborations with artists including Justin Bieber, Diplo and Bad Bunny quickly sold out. Read more: Could Crocs be the shoe of the summer? Check out Diplo’s psychedelic pair This brand building has paid off: The company reported record second-quarter revenue Thursday. But it’s also one of the reasons the company feels it deserves “all profits received by each Defendant from the sales and revenues of any kind made as a result” of the copycat clogs. Read more: Crocs shares jump after record revenue This isn’t the first time that Walmart has been in hot water for a knockoff shoe. Kanye West sued the retail giant last month for a “virtually indistinguishable” look-alike of his $75 Yeezy Foam Runner shoe.

                  

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