The Ivanka Trump brand is accused of copying the trademark design of a strappy red sandal and the first daughter is trying to use her status in the White House to keep her out of the courtroom.
The red suede, flashy fringe and elegant heel of the Wild Thing design by Edgardo Osorio’s shoe label, Aquazzura, has been extremely popular since its launch, helping to the brand to international fame. At a price tag of $785, the design has caught plenty copycats — usually smaller designers adding more affordable versions to their lines. But it’s the big fish Osorio is out to fry.
“One of the most disturbing things in the fashion industry is when someone blatantly steals your copyright designs and doesn't care,” Aquazzura posted on its Instagram in March 2016. “You should know better. Shame on you @ivankatrump! Imitation is NOT the most sincere form of flattery.”
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One of the most disturbing things in the fashion industry is when someone blatantly steals your copyright designs and doesn't care. You should know better. Shame on you @ivankatrump! Imitation is NOT the most sincere form of flattery. #aquazzura #ivankatrump Proud of mine #madeinitaly #italiansdoitbetter 🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹
Shortly after this post, Osorio sent a cease-and-desist to Ivanka’s company — Steve Madden and Marc Fisher got them too.
Aquazzura demanded the companies remove all pictures of the sandal from its website and social media accounts, cease advertising the shoe, destroy all existing pairs, disclose its manufacturer, hand over profits from sales, and ‘agree in writing under oath not to offer for sale any knock-off’ again.”
Aquazzura gave Trump and the other offending companies a week to comply or else face legal action.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, but this isn’t the first time Ivanka Trump’s clothing label has faced patent infringement allegations — the brand pulled sandal designs after both Derek Lam and Mystique sued the company for copying their respective designs. Ivanka denied the allegations both times, according to Bloomberg.
Ivanka’s label faced two other patent infringement lawsuits in 2016, but both were dismissed.
Ivanka did not comply with the terms of Aquazzura’s cease-and-desist and in June 2016 the company slapped her and Marc Fisher, who also did not heed the, with a lawsuit. The case has been working its way through the legal system since.
While other legal challenges against Ivanka’s brand have been settled or dismissed, but Trump and Osorio both have deep pockets and this one appears headed to court and the first daughter is going to be along for the ride.
Ivanka tried to get out of appearing in court by feigning ignorance — her lawyer said she “was not aware of the Aquazzura style ‘Wild Thing’ shoe at the time she signed off on the season line that contained the Ivanka Trump style ‘Hettie’ shoe.”
The lawyer also claimed Ivanka's “high-ranking government position” should preclude her from having to submit a deposition.
But the judge wasn’t having it.
“She is alleged to have personal involvement in the events at issue in this lawsuit. She cannot avoid a deposition in this matter,” the judge ruled.
There’s still a little time to settle, but if neither Trump or Osorio concede, the case will head to court this spring.