U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest has ruled that Ivanka Trump must give a deposition in a lawsuit filed against her fashion label by Italian shoemaker Aquazurra Italia. In the lawsuit filed in June 2016, Aquazurra alleges that Ivanka Trump and her company ripped off their “coveted” designs, selling shoes that are far too similar to theirs and for cheaper, too.
In early June, attorneys for Ivanka Trump argued that she should not have to give a deposition in the case because, in addition to stepping down from the helm of her company prior to her dad’s January inauguration, she “does not possess any unique information” regarding the shoes at the center of the lawsuit, reports CNN.
And what is the shoe at the center of the lawsuit now breathing down Ivanka Trump’s neck? It primarily boils down to an Ivanka Trump pump called the “Hettie.” According to the suit, the “Hettie” is a knock off of Aquazurra “Wild Things” design. The lawsuit claims that Ivanka’s shoe “too closely resembles” the Aquazurra shoe, which was on the market first. Ivanka and her legal team completely deny that they lifted their shoe design from the Italian shoemaker, adding that the Aquazurra pumps in question simply don’t possess the “distinctiveness” required to achieve intellectual property protection under the law.
What’s more, Ivanka Trump’s legal team is accusing the prestigious and post Italian shoemaker of trying to pull off a “publicity stunt” with their “baseless” lawsuit.
Ivanka is currently working as an unpaid White House adviser, has relocated from New York to Washington and is widely reported to be at the right hand of her father since he took office on January 20. According to her attorneys, Ivanka Trump’s current “special circumstances” should give her a free pass when it comes to being deposed in the shoe lawsuit facing the company that bears her name, claiming that forcing her to do so “would be an unnecessary distraction and would interfere with her ability to perform her duties at the White House.”
Judge Katherine Forrest apparently disagreed with the assessment of Ms. Trump’s legal team, ordering a deposition that will allow Ivanka to waste the barest minimum amount of time while staying close to the White House. According to the judge’s decision, Ivanka Trump has until October to be deposed, and the deposition must be done in Washington D.C. and can last no longer than two hours.
What’s more, Judge Forrest wrote that Ivanka Trump’s own public words may come back to haunt her in the shoe lawsuit her namesake company is facing. That’s because Ivanka has made statements about her active level of comprehensive brand management, leading the judge in the case to believe that an Ivanka Trump shoe would never have made it market without her direct approval.
“Ms. Trump’s public statements regarding active and comprehensive brand management lead to a reasonable inference that the shoe at issue would not have been released without her approval.”
And while Ivanka’s legal team, who have declined to publicly comment about the judge’s deposition ruling, have argued that Ivanka doesn’t have any unique information about the shoes in question, Judge Forrest argues that this claim is unlikely. According to the judge, Ivanka must be deposed because she was an executive at the time the shoes were created and also because she had “high-level, authoritative, personal involvement” in her company at the time.
Unfortunately for Ivanka Trump, her “Hettie” shoes aren’t the only ones causing her problems with regard to this pesky lawsuit. According to Aquazurra, two other shoe designs produced by her label closely resemble their pricey, coveted, high-end shoes.
[Featured Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]