US bans Aussies from using iconic name
An "outrageous" ban on Aussie ugg boot makers using the term "ugg boots" in the United States has prompted a fresh call for the Prime Minister to intervene in the fight for a national icon.
The legal battle over the right to refer to ugg boots as ugg boots follows a legal skirmish that saw a US company send private investigators to purchase 13 pairs from Western Sydney ugg boot maker Eddie Oygur.
After buying the ugg boots, the company promptly hit Mr Oygur with a massive lawsuit for calling the ugg boots by their rightful name.
But four years after he lost the right to use the beloved word "ugg" in the US, legal eagles are gearing up for a landmark appeal and urging the PM to help cover some of the legal costs.
Mr Oygur's Australian legal team includes the competition lawyer Michael Terceiro of Terceiro Legal and former Senator Nick Xenophon.
"Eddie's motivation all along in fighting this Court case has been exemplary - he wanted to bring the name Ugg back to Australia," said Mr Xenophon.
"It is an abomination a quintessential Australian name describing sheepskin boots is owned by an American company that has excluded Australian ugg bootmakers from selling their product to anywhere other than Australia and New Zealand,'' Mr Xenophon said.
Last year, a Chicago jury found Mr Oygur and his company "guilty" of selling 13 pairs of ugg boots and two pairs of ugg socks.
The ugg boot maker was hit with a massive $620,000 fine and also ordered by the Court to pay Deckers' $2.75 million in legal costs
Mr Oygur's lawyers argued the term ugg was not only generic in Australia but also in the US after Aussie bootmakers sold ugg boots to American surfers in the 1960s and 1970s.
Slamming the decision to ban Aussie manufacturers from using the word uggs as unAustralian, Eddie Oygur of Australian Leather Pty Ltd faces financial ruin over his dream of selling the famous sheepskin shoes.
"Many other companies have been sued but nobody ever took it this far … how could they trademark something uniquely Australian?" he said.
"They don't even make their boots in Australia, they make them in China, and yet they're here trying to close down all manufacturers in Australia."
But the court ruled the US company "owned" the word ugg and that Mr Oygur and Australian Leather had broken US intellectual property laws by selling its boots into the US.
"There are potentially billions of dollars in sales and 4,000 Australian jobs that could be created if we brought back the name ugg to Australia,'' Mr Xenophon said.
"This is not about one individual or one Australian company, it is about the future of thousands of manufacturing jobs that could be created if only the Australian Government would stand up to this American multinational and what many see is an abuse of intellectual property laws."
Mr Oygur is now appealing to the Morrison Government to help cover his legal costs.
He has already spent more than $1 million fighting this case and he has mortgaged all that he owns to pay for the legal bills.
Ms Oygur still owes his US lawyers $200,000.