In mid-2003, U.S. company Deckers started selling australian ugg boots, under the name UGG Australia. The boots are supplied through a company of the same name, whose domain name is owned by Teva Sandals, another U.S. company.
The ugg boots themselves are apparently being made in China, as are those sold locally (here in Australia) by Myer (don’t get me started on their stupid name change from Grace Bros.). The problem is the 30 odd Australia businesses which have been hand making and selling ugg boots for the last 60 years, and are now selling them on the Internet. Deckers are suing companies using the name “ugg”, when you can’t even get “UGG Australia” boots in Australia (Deckers don’t exist here).
This Sydney Morning Herald article covers the full story, including how local manufacturers are being thrown off eBay because Deckers sees it as trademark infringement.
Ugg is a generic term that Australians and Australian businesses have been using for decades. When a U.S. company with no presence in Australia, trademarks our own language and forceably damages our local industry, something must be done.
To quote the Deckers web site:
UGG is a line of authentic sheepskin footwear, popularized in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s. These sheepskin boots, slippers and other footwear styles have high-grade sheepskin linings which act as a natural insulator, keeping feet warm and comfortable.
“…and can no longer be sold or promoted in Australia, because it affects our bottom line.”
Think global, act local. Buy our local product, and tell Deckers what you think about their bottom line. (We have three pairs of boots in our house, proudly Australian made)
Note: As of January 2006, the term has been finally removed again from the Australian Trademark Registry. For more information on why, and the dodgey and deceptive marketing practices of U.S. companies Deckers and Ugg Australia, please see the Wikipedia entry for ugg boots under the section Trademark controversy.
Also please note that I think some of the negative comments below are from competitors trying to trash other retailers. There are a LOT of ugg boots sellers in Australia, and it’s a competitive market, so don’t use this blog as a recommendation for or against any particular retailer.