The Trade Marks Office (IP Australia) has apparently ruled that ‘Ugg Boot’ is a generic term. As such, it can be removed from the Register, putting an end to the exclusive rights of the trade mark owner. Given that no decision appears in AustLII, I’m guessing that this is an initial decision, which could be the subject of review or later, appeal to the courts. The story may not be entirely over. >[Update: The decision is in fact available here; it is a decision by the delegate under s 101 relating to an application for removal under s 92. As such, it could be appealed to the Federal Court (s 104). The decision is worth reading, if only for the comedy value in seeing how ‘UGG’, ‘UGH’, etc have been used. After the decision, the trade mark owner’s lawyers issued a statement, noting that Deckers had the right to appeal the decision and was “considering its position”:

“The worldwide popularity the Ugg brand enjoys today is a direct result of Deckers’ heavy investment over many years in building the brand,” the statement said. [

oh really? And here’s me thinking that the main reason for the well known-ness of UGG is (a) its kitschness and (b) the efforts of certain Ugg-friendly celebrities]
“Deckers will continue to take any and all necessary actions to protect its Ugg brand around the world.”]

Of course, this has generated plenty of news coverage (headline story on News Radio this morning). Simply confirming that:

  1. we use ‘Ugg Boot’ a lot,
  2. Ugg boots are important, and widespread enough around Australia for their name to become generic (simply confirming the bad fashion taste of a LOT of people)
  3. the makers of Ugg Boots should have been promoting an alternative generic term (Sheepskin boots? Sheepies?)
  4. a trivial story will ALWAYS get more attention (confirmed last year when the issue of Ugg Boots was debated in Parliament). For coverage last time this was an issue (Feb 2004), see here.

Put Ugg boots in Google, and watch any doubts you might have dissapate…