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Back into the Public Domain — in Australia, At Least

February 10th, 2007

The clunky, wool-lined sheepskin boots called uggs, ugs, or ughs — a shortening of "ugly," by all accounts — used to be a uniquely Australian phenomenon. They apparently originated in the mid-twentieth century as simple sheepskin wrappings that sheep shearers used to keep their feet warm. Later on, Australian surfers got into the act. And so the situation remained for years, more or less, though the sheepskin creations slowly seeped into other segments of the Australian shoe-wearing public. For quite some time, uggs were considered utilitarian only, the dowdy shoes you wore at home to keep your feet warm — but never, ever out in public.

Then big business and the fashion industry got in on the act.

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When an Ugg Isn’t an Ugg

January 15th, 2007

For decades, Australian boot manufacturers have been calling the traditional fleece-lined, flat-heeled sheepskin boots they produce "uggs," "ughs," or "ugs" — some variation on a shortening of the word "ugly." They aren’t really, but they do have the sort of look that’s more suited for comfort than high couture. Imagine their surprise, then, when the American firm Deckers Corporation legally appropriated the term in the 1990s, and their astonishment when these homely surf and house boots exploded onto the fashion scene as a must-have item due to Deckers’ imaginative marketing.

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David and Goliath, or Trademark Infringement?

February 10th, 2006

In the corporate world, things aren’t always as cut-and-dried as we might like. Take the term "ugg." To the Australians who’ve spent their lives making fleece-lined, flat-heeled sheepskin boots, it’s a generic term denoting their type of product. To most of the modern world, it’s a trademark of Ugg Australia, the division of the Deckers Corporation that makes the most popular boots of this type in the world.

For most of their existence, uggs were a homey Aussie secret. Then the word got out to American surfers, who began wearing the warm boots that their Aussie brethren had been wearing for decades. Suddenly, ugg boots hit the big time in the early 2000s, becoming the must-have women’s fashion item. The traditional Australian manufacturers were delighted, and went to great lengths to meet the growing demand for their comfy boots.

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New Film Chronicles the Ugg Court Battles

February 10th, 2006

When filmmaker Susan Lambert was growing up in the Blue Mountains of Australia, she wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing ugg boots. The iconic Australian footwear, as Aussie as Ayer’s Rock, was something people wore to stay warm, not to be fashionable. In her memorable words, you’ll be considered "a total dag" if you appeared in public wearing the clunky sheepskin creations.

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Uggs aren’t done yet

September 6th, 2005

By Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Jessica Alba says the next generation of Ugg boots are “must-have essential item” for fall. She created her own look for shopvogue.com together with Eva Longoria and Debra Messing. Shopvogue.com is an online store affiliated with the fashion magazine Vogue.

Imitation ugg boots undermine sheep skin prices

July 21st, 2005

ABC News Online, July 21 2005

ABC News reports, how Imitation Uggs caused huge drop of lambskin prices from Tasmania from $13 to as low as $3 to $5 due to cheap imitations on the market. Other factors contributiong to the price drop are warmer climate in Russia and flood of artificial ugg boots to North American Market.

Fears fake ugg boots may damage wool’s reputation

July 13th, 2005

ABC News Online, July 13 2005

The Western Australia farmer’s federation (WAFF) has expressed concerns that the local Aussie’s wool producers’ reputation is being ruined by some companies trying to sell their fake uggs as genuine Australian wool. Some manufacturers’ footwear is being labeled as 100% Australian Merino Wool lining, but is nothing more than just 100% polyester. WAFF says that the fake ugg boots damage the credit of world renowned Australian wool and sheepskin products.

Where Do Real Uggs or Ugg Boots Come From?

January 10th, 2005

PR Web

PR Web has an interesting article sumaarizing the history of ugg boots. It explains tehre do the uggs come from, their role in history and development from the early days up to now, when they became an international hit. It also focuses on marketing and authenticity of ugg rpoducts in the global competitive economy.