The Croc shoe is possibly one of the most recognisable shape shoes on the market, especially due to its love and hate appeal.
As previously reported on the Reading Room, Crocs failed to convince the EUIPO that their shoe design was valid.
However, it seems the General Court of the European Union isn’t a lover of Crocs either as the Court has confirmed the EU Intellectual Property Office’s previous decision to refuse the design registration for the shoe.
There are two requirements for a design to obtain registered protection. These are the need for the design to be novel and new, and in addition the design must have individual character.
In respect of novelty, it seems that Crocs had made a rod for their own back as the company itself had destroyed the novelty of its own designs.
This is due to the requirement of disclosure. A design is not deemed as novel if it is disclosed to the public more than a year before registration is sought.
Evidence submitted to the Court highlighted that Crocs had been disclosed to the public way before registration was sought in 2004, with suggestion that the products were on sale via their website in 2002.
Due to this evidence, the requirement for novelty was not met and the General Court agreed with the EU Intellectual Property Office decision to declare the EU design invalid and proceed with its cancellation.
There is a chance for Crocs to appeal with decision but there were clearly as many holes in their case as their shoes this time around.
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