Blog: Leonie BarrieWhat’s in a name?

Leonie Barrie | 12 November 2009

Just as it appeared to be turning the corner at the end of a dismal year of tumbling sales and profits, quirky shoe maker Crocs now seems to have another battle on its hands.

With cruel timing, it emerged in a recent filing that German car maker Porsche is suing it for alleged infringement of the ‘Cayman’ trademark – which not only appears on one of its sports cars but is also the name of Crocs’ best-known style of clogs.

Crocs says it plans to “vigorously defend” itself against the claims – but with sales and profits only just starting to recover from a $185m loss last year this is likely to be an unwelcome and expensive diversion as it tries to steer a turnaround of its business.

Bloggers have been quick to dismiss Porsche’s action as petty, pointing out that there’s not much chance of confusing Crocs’ $30 Cayman sandal with the $51,000 Porsche Cayman.

One even had the temerity to write: “The most ridiculous thing about this suit is that Crocs is a far superior product than the Porsche Cayman. I've worn Crocs and driven a Cayman; the Crocs are way more comfortable.”

And where will Porsche draw the line? Maybe it’d like to take on the Cayman Islands too?

But there’s also a sense of déjà vu here as well. In the same Form 10-Q filing Crocs lists no less than 12 lawsuits it has filed accusing firms of patent and trade infringement. As they say, what goes around comes around.


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