An Australian boot maker has succeeded in the first stage of its fight to win back the rights to call its footwear ugg boots, the company's proprietor Bronwyn McDougall told just-style.

McDougall said her business, Uggs-n-Rugs, had won its campaign to reclaim the trademark 'ugh boots' as a generic name for the sheepskin boots.

US shoe group Deckers stopped Australian companies from calling their boots uggs in 2003, when the footwear began to gain global fashion status.

Deckers, which had bought the trademark back in 1995, also demanded that the McDougall's ceased trading as Uggs-n-Rugs.

The McDougall's company, along with other Australian businesses, is now hoping a second trademark - 'ugh' - will be reclaimed in a hearing in spring this year.

McDougall told just style: "We were so enraged that we decided to stand up to them. As the only trademark they possessed which preceded our registered business was ugh boots we applied to the Australian Trademarks Office (IP Australia) to have that trademark removed from the register for Non-Use."

She continued: "Once both of these marks have been removed permanently from the Australian Register of Trademarks, then all traders in Australia will be free to call their boots in Australia by their real name without fear of being sued.

"Deckers will still hold trademarks in other countries for the ugg word but once they are lost to them in Australia their registrations in other countries become assailable because of the precedent set in Australia.

"We are confident that both marks will be removed and any appeals, if lodged, will be unsuccessful. It would be a wonderful victory for Australians as a whole to have regained an icon that should never have been lost."

If the McDougalls are successful in their plight, all traders will be able to buy their own trademark for the style.

Deckers could not immediately be reached for comment. It is not known whether the company will appeal the first ruling.

However, the ruling will come as a bitter if not unexpected blow to the company, which has enjoyed a string of sales boosts from the popularity of the UGG range.