Ivanka Trump Copyright Lawsuit: Mystique Footwear Claims Design Theft
Ivanka Trump is being sued by Mystique Footwear. The company claims that Trump stole two sandal designs from its footwear collection. Mystique claims that it registered with the US Copyright Office its ornamental designs affixed to sandals titled “By the Sea – Style 3323” and “Starry Eyed – Style 4179.”
According to Mystique Footwear, its intellectual property was eventually turned into Trump’s “Pia” and “Pandra” sandals. Mystique argues:
“Defendants’ acts are willful, deliberate and committed with prior notice and knowledge of Plaintiff’s copyrights. At a minimum, Defendants were willfully blind and in reckless disregard of Plaintiff’s copyrights.”
You may recall that, in 2011, Ivanka Trump has been sued in the past for copyright infringement. Fashion designer Derek Lam sued Trump to which she claimed he didn’t properly protect his own intellectual property. In Derek Lam’s case, he did not file a design, patent which must be produced within one year of publicly disclosing the product. Lam decided to sue Ivanka Trump with much harder to enforce trade dress infringement laws.
According to attorney Milord A. Keshishian:
“Some loyal readers will now state: “Wait another minute, if sandals are useful articles not protectable through copyright law, how in the world is Mystique filing a copyright infringement complaint against Trump?” As you can see from the sandal pictures, the stars and sea horses are separable design elements that are copyrightable subject matter and form the basis of the copyright infringement complaint. See Chosun Int’l v. Chrisha Creations, Ltd., 413 F.3d 324, 328 (2d Cir. 2005) (“individual design elements of useful articles are afforded some level of protection under the Copyright Act, so long as those design elements are physically or conceptually separable from the article itself.”)”
Mystique asserts that it has cause of action under California law which was preempted by the Copyright Act. Both laws are based on the same set of infringement acts.
You can find the full Ivanka Trump lawsuit filed under Mystique, Inc. v. Ivanka Trump Marks, LLC et al., CV12-10217 RGK (C.D. Cal. 2012).