EDDIES DAVIDvGOLIATH UGGBOOT BATTLE



EDDIE’S DAVID v GOLIATH UGG BOOT BATTLE

WE NEED YOUR HELP - TIME TO BRING UGG HOME!

Battling Western Sydney Ugg boot maker Eddie Oygur, owner of small business Australian Leather P/L, is devastated after a Chicago jury ordered him to pay US$450,000 (over $640,000) in ‘statutory damages’ after it found that he sold 12 pairs of ugg boots into the US from 2014 - 2016.

In addition, Eddie and his company could face millions of dollars in legal costs incurred by Deckers Outdoor Corporation -  on top of the over $1.25 million he’s incurred in US legal fees so far in fighting the case brought against him and his company.

In 2016 Deckers, which owns the ‘UGG’ trademark, sued Eddie and Australian Leather without prior warning alleging breach of trademark and patentinfringement in relation to 4 styles of Deckers’ ugg boots.

A private investigator hired by Deckers bought 4 pairs of ugg boots from the Australian Leather website www.australianleather.com.au  in early 2016. Proceedings were issued by Deckers in March 2016 out of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. It finally went to trial this week, with an 8 person jury empaneled.

It was agreed that Australian Leather sold only 12 pairs of ugg boots (4 to the Deckers’ private detective) and 2 pairs of socks over an 18 month period from October 2014 to April 2016 - worth in total about $2000.

The ‘bench trial’ - a hearing before the judge alone - heard other evidence excluded to the jury. That evidence included a former US Government Patent Attorney Jody Drake, who raised serious questions on whether the US ‘UGG’ trademark should ever have been granted in the first place in 1987,  given ‘UGG’ is a generic term for sheepskin boots in Australia since at least the 1960s.

Evidence before the jury included a video deposition of former ugg boot and surf board maker John Arnold, now in his late 70s, who said not only was ‘UGG’ a generic term in Australia in the 1960s, but he exported may thousands of pairs of ugg boots to the US in the 1960s and 1970s from Adelaide, casting further doubt on how ‘UGG’ was registered as a trade mark in the US.

Nick Xenophon is part of Eddie’s Australian legal team led by Michael Terceiro in Australia. Nick accompanied Eddie to Chicago for the trial.


EDDIE’S PLEA TO YOU


To say this verdict is devastating would be an understatement. My life savings have already gone into this case, and unless Australians get behind me this verdict will wipe me, shut my business down and destroy the Australian ugg boot industry. I fought this, against a $7 billion US corporate giant,  because I passionately believe ‘UGG’ belongs to Australia, for any Australian company to use to make ugg boots for the world.

However, we are still in with a chance, but we need the support of the Australian public, the Government and regulators, such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), if we are going to win this case.

I will need another $2 million to keep the case going and to lodge an appeal the unfair judgment against my company and me personally.  So that is  why I have also turned to crowd funding because I firmly believe there are so many good-hearted people out there who, like me, feel passionate about hat they do and believe in.

Deckers might send me broke in the process- but they will never break my spirit and resolve for justice.

We need to stand up to  corporate bullies and stop them from pulling the wool over the eyes of consumers while trying to fleece honest and hard-working small, family-run businesses.

Every contribution towards the legal costs counts and will be thankfully appreciated, accounted for and acknowledged.

Even if you can’t afford to help me financially, I would appreciate your support in other ways such as writing to your local member and demanding thatthey get behind my efforts to “bring ugg home”.


THE BACK STORY

Nick Xenophon was particularly unhappy about the Government’s failure to support Eddie’s case”

“Eddie fought this case for Aussie jobs, but unfortunately his pleas to the Australian Government for legal assistance fell on deaf ears. Now his only immediate hope is for the Australian public to get behind him to help fund the appeal.

“We wrote to the PM and the Attorney-General for legal funding support expecting a favourable response but we had our application refused on the ground that this wasn’t an important enough issue.  It seems that the possibility of generating thousands of local manufacturing jobs as well as significant export sales was not seen as an important issue for the current Government!

“Now is the time for our political leaders to get involved and fight for the Australian ugg boot industry.  And the best way to do that is to support Eddie’s appeal - all the way to the US Supreme Court if need be. If the Morrison Government won’t act, I call on all other political leaders to stand up for Australia.

“After all the ugg boot market is estimated to be worth $8 billion a year in annual sales and Australia has a natural competitive advantage in making uggs – consumer want Australian made ugg boots.

Mr Xenophon was especially critical of the ACCC failing to take action against Deckers for marketing and marking their ugg boots as ‘UGG AUSTRALIA’ from 2007 to 2017 when Deckers moved production of their ugg boots to China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

“Deckers had a lot of gall claiming Eddie had misled American consumers (all 8 of them!) when for years it misled consumers across the world that their ugg boots were somehow Australian. The ACCC should have stepped in and taken action. Unfortunately, Deckers were effectively able to use the  ACCC’s inaction against us in the case.

See the videos of Nick grilling the ACCC about their inaction in relation Deckers’ misleading use of the brand name “Ugg Australia”:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uVv6xhBclY 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Shi9tsAo6CU 

Michael Terceiro commented that the case has been particularly difficult:

 “We haven’t had a lot going right in the case so far.  Unfortunately, the Court has ruled against us at almost every turn. For example we had:

* key evidence excluded, including the evidence of one of our key expert witnesses
* a crucial deposition for a witness we had flown to the US specifically for the purpose of giving evidence quashed at the last moment
* to work around a court order which limited us to only taking two days depositions (witness evidence) in Australia after we asked for seven days
* to fly two witnesses to the US to give evidence to get around the Court order limiting us to only two days of depositions in Australia
* a summary judgement which prevented most of our case against Deckers going to trial
* an order breaking the trial into two parts which effectively prevented the jury from hearing the whole story and
* a motion seeking leave to call an impeachment (rebuttal) witness denied.

I was also prevented by a Court order from having access to all the evidence in the case on the basis that I was an Australian lawyer and presumably could not be trusted to maintain confidentiality. Needless to say this made my job of advising Eddie considerably more difficult.

DIRTY TRICKS

Deckers will resort to every dirty trick in the book. On their website they claim that buying cheaper-priced Uggboots from anyone other than them means you're probably buying a counterfeit product and could be financing terrorism and organised crime, including the Mafia, Al Qaeda and the Yakuza! Yes, seriously. 
 
For the record I have no links to any of such groups - and it is pretty upsetting to be lumped in with them.


FAKE NEWS
 
But here’s an ironic and insulting twist to this tale. Deckers was forced by me to admit its ‘Ugg Australia’ boots are really made in China using no listed Australian materials! Furthermore, they say: “If the label says they are made in Australia or New Zealand that is a flashing warning sign of a fake.” Yes, seriously! Well my Uggs, made by my small company Australian Leather Pty. Ltd . in Sydney, are certainly not fakes - they’re the real deal, made with genuine Aussie sheepskins and wool.



MY CHALLENGE

I can promise you I am not a quitter. I will fight hard to the very end for what I believe is right, even if it could send my business to the wall and me personally, bankrupt.

And what’s more,  I am not only defending the action, I am counter-suing Deckers.

Using credible witnesses, I will argue in court that Deckers deceptively and improperly obtained the trademark in the first place and that Ugg should be able to be used by any manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand to export this Down Under product anywhere in the world, given the history of the Uggboot.

I am standing on principle and fairness. This is no longer about me or the survival of my business, but every other little guy that Deckers has screwedover.

My desire is to save a distinctly Australian industry from oblivion and, with it, and many hundreds of jobs which depend on it and thousands which could be created.

I have received enormous support and encouragement from many people, including Australian Senator Nick Xenophon (pictured above), a lone voice in raising awareness of how big corporations stomp on the little guys.

However I also need your kind support to achieve a result which will benefit all other Australian owned and operated Ugg boot manufacturers.


HOW YOU CAN HELP


I have hocked and mortgaged everything I own.

But I will still need another $1 million to take them on in court in Chicago, Illinois. So that is why I have also turned to crowd funding because I firmly believe there are so many good-hearted people out there who, like me, feel passionate about what they do and believe in.

Deckers might send me broke in the process- but they will never break my spirit and resolve for justice.

We need to stand up to  corporate bullies and stop them from pulling the wool over the eyes of consumers while trying to fleece honest and hard-working small, family-run businesses.

Every contribution towards the legal costs counts and will be thankfully appreciated, accounted for and acknowledged.

OTHER WAYS TO ASSIST

Help spread the word by sharing this link to your family, friends, work colleagues, community groups or your followers through email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media platforms and networks.


IMPORTANT:

Please email us [email redacted].au or call 02 9749 5333 or from outside Australia call +61 2 97495333 to verify your donation and confirm the size and colour you would like and we will start making your reward IN AUSTRALIA.  

MEDIA

My story has attracted a great deal of media attention in Australia and overseas. Below are some links to articles and videos.

https://www.todaytonightadelaide.com.au/stories/ugg-boot-war

http://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/battle-to-use-the-term-ugg-boots-continues-in-us-court-20170502-gvxaju.html

http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/australian-company-fights-to-keep-producing-ugg-boots/news-story/9f164df7907b1e71d23a85bef1ad7971

http://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/australian-ugg-boot-manufacturers-fighting-to-use-the-word-ugg-20160523-gp1pwt.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-27/sydney-ugg-boot-maker-suing-us-footwear-giant/7786578

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3604820/Eddie-Oygur-s-Australian-Leather-ugg-boot-business-sued-corporation-using-word-ugg.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-24/australia-wide-august-27/7782546

http://www.bandt.com.au/opinion/lessons-ugg-boot-protecting-global-brand-paramount

Thank you all in advance for your support!
www.australianleather.com.au

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Organizer

Eddie Oygur 
Organizer
Haymarket NSW
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