Ivanka Trump has been embroiled in a shoe fight for almost two years with designer Edgardo Osorio, the co-founder and creative director of Aquazzura. Unlike many people the Trumps try to roll over, Osorio has a lot of money and a bulldog’s determination to drag her to court.
Bloomberg reports that most cases that involve Ivanka’s clothing brand ripping people off (and there are many) have been settled out of court or dismissed. Figuring out what design belongs to who with lawyers is a laborious and expensive process, and few have the resources to see it through. Osorio does, however, and as you can see from this first Instagram post calling out Ivanka’s knock-off of his iconic Wild Thing sandal, he ain’t taking it laying down:
The Wild Thing is extremely popular, and many smaller companies have some affordable version of it in their line. The Aquazzura label’s design costs $785, and Trump’s version runs for only $65. Aquazzura has only challenged the bigger brands, like Steve Madden, Marc Fisher, and Ivanka Trump. Shortly after this Instagram post went up, the company sent Ivanka a cease-and-desist with strong demands:
To avoid a court battle, Aquazzura demanded Trump’s company remove all pictures of the sandal in question from its website and social media, stop advertising the shoe, destroy all existing pairs, disclose its manufacturer, hand over profits from sales of the offending shoe, and “agree in writing under oath not to offer for sale any knock-off” again. Aquazzura gave Trump a week to comply, or else face legal action.
Shocking, I know, but Trump did not comply. The Trump “Hettie” shoe remains in circulation. There is a trial set for next March, and if a settlement isn’t reached before then, Ivanka Trump may be forced to come in and testify about a shoe. She definitely thinks she’s above that:
“Trump was not aware of the Aquazzura style ‘Wild Thing’ shoe at the time she signed off on the season line that contained the Ivanka Trump style ‘Hettie’ shoe,” Saunders, her lawyer, argued in a letter to the judge. “The burden of a deposition of Ms. Trump would far outweigh any likely benefit to Aquazzura.” Saunders added that her role as a “high ranking government official” should preclude her from having to submit to a deposition.
A judge has ruled that Trump had a direct hand in the direction of her brand, and is thus obligated to speak to the issue in court, if it comes to that. Whether Aquazzura can prove that the red fringe on their Wild Thing is distinct enough to qualify as intellectual property is debatable, but it could be fun to watch Ivanka Trump dance around the shoe story on the stand.