11 September 2017

Crocs v Dawgs trade dress battle heats up

Moulded footwear company Crocs has requested sanctions against rival USA Dawgs in an ongoing trade dress dispute between the parties.

Nevada-based Dawgs had sued Crocs in July, at the US District Court for the District of Nevada, alleging that Crocs had copied one of Dawgs’ sandal designs.

Dawgs claimed it had developed, manufactured and sold a “distinct Z-shaped upper” for sandals that is intended to fit over the top of a wearer’s foot and look like a “Z”.

According to Dawgs, Crocs’ ‘Women’s Swiftwater Sandal’ is confusingly similar.

Crocs, and three of its employees, were also accused by Dawgs of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act “in an intentional and successful effort to deprive Dawgs of sales of its products”.

In the suit, the Nevada-based company claimed that a Croc employee (who had formerly worked at e-commerce platform Zulily) had accessed its private account and sought to have Zulily cancel Dawgs’ sales promotion, which Zulily allegedly did.

The “only possible way Crocs could have obtained access to Dawgs’ sales event was by hacking into Dawgs’ private password protected vendor portal or employing some other dishonest means”, said Dawgs.

Crocs hit back in its latest filing, a motion for sanctions, submitted to the court on Wednesday, September 6.

“Dawgs filed this lawsuit while in possession of true and undisputable facts showing that assertions in its complaint are false,” said the motion.

Crocs added that the filing by Dawgs was followed by a press campaign, “purposefully subjecting innocent persons to news coverage implying that they are criminal actors engaged in corporate espionage”.

The moulded footwear company alleged that this was an “apparent attempt to gain leverage in the currently pending patent infringement action in Colorado”.

Crocs claimed that Dawgs knows Crocs did not steal the idea for a Z-strap on a sandal from Dawgs in 2013, and then allegedly begin selling a copycat Z-strap sandal in 2017.

“But, Dawgs knows—and as is confirmed in both discovery produced to Dawgs in Colorado and by Dawgs in Colorado, as well as by the internet—that Crocs has sold a Z-strap sandal since at least 2009,” said the motion.

In response to Dawgs’ accusations of computer fraud, Crocs said that every vendor in a Zulily event has access to next-day sales information on the other participating vendors.

“Not only does Dawgs know this (since Dawgs is a self-proclaimed Zulily vendor), but, when Dawgs went to Zulily and began making its irresponsible allegations of ‘hacking’, Zulily expressly confirmed directly to Dawgs that sales information is freely accessible to all vendors the day before a common sale,” added Crocs.

Crocs has asked the court to dismiss Dawgs’ action, and award costs and attorneys’ fees. It’s also asked the court to order Dawgs to issue a full retraction and apology to the individuals named in the lawsuit

Dawgs told WIPR that Crocs’ latest motion is “baseless and misstates the facts”.

The spokesperson added: “Dawgs plans to not only file a response to Crocs’ motion for sanctions, but move to recover its own costs for Crocs’ latest attempt to abuse the legal system.”

Crocs had also filed a motion to dismiss the suit in late August—Dawgs filed its response at the beginning of September.

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox

Today’s top stories:

Gigi Hadid faces legal action over Instagram post

Wrigley sues e-cigarette seller over ‘juicy fruit’ mark amid FDA crackdown

Qualcomm loses global injunction bid against Apple

Fed Circuit affirms invalidation of patent despite faulty PTAB analysis

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

31 July 2017   Moulded footwear company Crocs has found itself at the centre of a dispute over trade dress and computer fraud.
15 August 2017   The US Patent and Trademark Office has invalidated a design patent owned by moulded footwear company Crocs for its famous clog.
14 March 2018   The EU General Court has today confirmed the cancellation of a registration of Crocs’ Community design because it was made available to the public before its registration.