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|Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:00 pm Post subject: Ugg boots - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Ugg boots (sometimes called uggs) are unisex sheepskin boots, made of twin-faced sheepskin with fleece on the inside and with a tanned outer surface.
Ugg boots often have a synthetic sole, although this is not universal. Heights range from around the ankle to above the knee, they are available in a range of different colours as both slip-on and lace-up varieties, and they are produced by a number of manufacturers. The natural insulative properties of sheepskin gives thermostatic properties to the boots: the thick fleecy fibers on the inner part of the boots allow air to circulate and keep the feet at body temperature. This means that ugg boots can be worn without socks even in relatively cold weather.
Ugg boots are believed to have been first developed in Australia or New Zealand, although the exact date is uncertain―they have been, at different times, identified with pilots in World War I who are said to have worn them for warmth in unpressurized planes, shearers in rural Australia during the 1920s, surfers and competitive swimmers who wore them in the 1960s and 1970s for keeping warm while out of the water. In the early 2000s, they became a fashion trend in the United States, leading to increased global sales.
UGG is a registered trademark of Deckers Outdoor Corporation outside Australia and New Zealand and has been subject to various disputes over its use.
3 Trademark dispute
4 Counterfeit products
5 Concern for animals
6 See also
8 External links  History
There has been considerable dispute over the origins of the ugg boot style, with both Australia and New Zealand claiming to have been the originators of the footwear. Nevertheless, it appears that "fug boots" (surmised to be a shortened form of "flying ugg boots") were used by aviators during World War I, and that they were present in rural regions of Australia during the 1920s. While it is not clear when manufacturing started, by 1933, ugg boots were being manufactured by Blue Mountains Ugg Boots, and Mortels Sheepskin Factory were making the boots from the late 1950s.
In the 1960s, ugg boots became a popular option for competitive surfers, who used the boots to keep their feet warm after exiting from the surf. It was surfing which helped popularise the boots outside of Australia and New Zealand, when surfer Brian Smith started selling the boots in the United States through the company Ugg Holdings, Inc. in 1979. Later, ugg boots emerged as a fashion trend in the United States, with celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker and Pamela Anderson wearing the boots, increasing demand. However, Pamela Anderson renounced ugg boots in 2007 upon realising that they were made from animal skin.
The terms ugg boots, ugh boots and ug boots have been used as generic terms for sheepskin boots in Australia and New Zealand since at least the 1970s, although individual accounts have suggested that the terms (or variations thereof) were employed earlier. The 1970s saw the emergence of advertising using the names, but Brian Smith has stated that the boots were referred to as "uggs" long before the word was trademarked (in 1971), and Frank Mortel claims to have been making ugg boots under the "ugg" name since 1958.
Ugg boots are traditionally made from sheepskin. The wool is tanned into the leather, and the upper part of the boot is assembled with the fleece on the inside. The soles of the boots are made from rubber, and the stitching is often prominent on the outside of the boot. The fleece draws away moisture, keeping the feet dry and at body temperature. Today they come in a variety of colours, including black, pink, blue, chestnut, and fuchsia. They are available in both slip-on and lace-up varieties and their height can range from just above the ankle to above the knee.
Some variations of ugg style boots have also been made from kangaroo fur and leather. There are also synthetic boots. Although derided as "fake" by some in the industry, their lower price made them appealing to large retail chains such as Myer.
 Trademark dispute
In 1971, an Australian surfer, Shane Steadman, began selling ugg boots and registered the name as a trademark. In 1979 Brian Smith, another Australian surfer, brought several pairs of Australian-made uggs to the United States and began selling them in New York and to surfers in California.  He set up Ugg Holdings Inc., acquired the Australian mark from Steadman, and registered "ugg boots" as a trademark in 25 countries. In 1995, he sold his interest to Deckers Outdoor Corporation. In 1999,Ugg Ultra Short Boots, Deckers began asserting its new trademark and sent out cease and desist letters to Australian manufacturers, but did not press the issue beyond that. It was only in the early 2000s when demand for ugg boots was soaring, partly as a result of several celebrity endorsements, and Australian manufacturers began selling uggs over the Internet, that Deckers' law firm Middletons of Melbourne began a serious effort to halt their sales. In 2004, Deckers sent cease and desist letters to 20 Australian manufacturers and Mortels Sheepskin Factory was prevented from selling uggs on eBay or from using the word in domain names.
In response to these actions by Deckers, Australian manufacturers formed the Ugg Boot Footwear Association to fight the corporation's claim, arguing that "ugg" is a generic term referring to flat-heeled, pull-on sheepskin boots. They further argued that Australian manufacturers had been making and trading this style of boot for decades,Ugg Tall Boots, including into the United States. One of these manufacturers, Perth's Uggs-N-Rugs, appealed to Australian trademark regulators, who in 2006 ruled that "ugg" is indeed a generic term and stated that it should be removed from the trademark register. The officer who heard the case stated that the "evidence overwhelmingly supports the proposition that the terms (ugg, ugh and ug boots) are interchangeably used to describe a specific style of sheepskin boot and are the first and most natural way in which to describe these goods."
However, the ruling only applies in Australia with Deckers still owning the trademarks in all other jurisdictions, including the United States, China, Japan and the European Union. In 2005, the validity of the UGG trademark was challenged in Federal Court in California; the court ruled for Deckers, stating that consumers in the United States consider Ugg to be a brand name. In his final order, the judge who heard the case stated that, although the defendants had provided anecdotal evidence of the term being used generically, Deckers had countered this by "submitted ... declarations from four footwear industry professionals, each of whom states that 'UGG' is widely recognized in the industry as a brand-name and not a generic term" and that the defendants' evidence "fails to demonstrate that the term 'UGG' is generic." In his finding the judge did not consider whether or not "ugg" was a generic term in Australia or New Zealand, as the doctrine of foreign equivalents only relates to non-English speaking countries. A similar challenge was also rejected by a Dutch court.
 Counterfeit products
The Deckers brand of ugg boot has also been challenged by the marketing of counterfeit products, principally from China. According to the Glasgow Evening Times in July 2010,
Gangs of criminals have flooded Glasgow with fake footwear. ... Authorities across the west of Scotland have seized hundreds of pairs of the must-have footwear ... Neil Coltart, at Glasgow City Council, said: "These boots come in boxes that look like the real thing, with tags and labels. But the product clearly isn't the quality you'd expecty from Ugg." ... Out of their slick packaging,Ugg Kids Boots, the boots were clearly not made of Ugg's comfy sheepskin, but a cheap man-made fur. One even had its distinctive Ugg trademark glued on to its heel upside down. Holding up a pair, [Coltart] said: "I think most people would be pretty disappointed if they bought Ugg boots and brought these home." ... Jim Coleman, head of the city council cabinet responsible for trading standards,Ugg Classic Tall Boots, said: "It is important that people remember the real cost of what can appear, at first, to be a bargain. Buying fakes hits honest retailers and has a knock on effect on their ability to provide jobs. There is also substantual evidence linking the [counterfeit] trade with organised crime―so buying counterfeit jeans could put money in the pockets of gangsters who ruthlessly exploit the communities they sell in."
In 2009, United States customs agents confiscated 60,000 pairs of fake UGG branded boots, and the company took action against 2500 websites that were selling fraudulent products, as well as some 170,000 listings on eBay, Craigslist and similar sites. Leah Evert-Burks, director of brand protection for Deckers, told The New York Times: "The consumer is blind as to the source of the product ... Counterfeit Web sites go up pretty easily, and counterfeiters will copy our stock photos, the text of our Web site, so it will look and feel like" the Deckers website.
In Australia, where the UGG trademark does not apply, any sheepskin boots may be marketed as ugg boots without being considered counterfeit.
 Concern for animals
Being one of many clothing products made from animal hides, the production of ugg boots has been the subject of criticism by the animal liberation movement. In the decade beginning in 2000,Ugg Cardy Boots, the group called for the boycott of Ugg Boots and their replacement with alternatives not made from animal skin.
In 2007, Pamela Anderson, realising that ugg boots were made of skin, wrote on her website: "I thought they were shaved kindly? People like to tell me all the time that I started that trend ― yikes! Well let's start a new one ― do NOT buy Uggs! Buy Stella McCartney or juicy boots." In February 2008, the Princeton Animal Welfare Society staged a campus protest against the fur industry, particularly attacking the ugg boot industry, popular amongst male and female college students. "[S]tudents lay in the newly fallen snow on the Frist Campus Center's North Front Lawn on Friday afternoon, feigning death, wearing coats covered with fake blood and sporting signs that read, 'What if you were killed for your coat?' "
 See also 2010s in fashion  References  External links Documentary film on the trademark dispute: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugg boot. Produced and directed by Susan Lambert, Jumping Dog Productions. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 14 September 2006.
"Ugg Lovers Fight Back", The Age, 6 May 2004.
"Save Our Aussie Icon" - campaign against the trademark