Shoe Maker Buscemi Sues J/Slides for Design Patent Infringement

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Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP

Buscemi, LLC (“Buscemi”) filed for a design patent on June 2, 2016.  In March 2017, while the patent application was pending, Buscemi alleges that it became aware that Styleline Studios International and JSL Studio International d/b/a J/Slides (collectively “J/Slides”) was selling shoes which Buscemi considered would be covered by the subject matter in the design patent when it issued.  On March 14, 2017,  Buscemi sent J/Slides a cease and desist letter putting J/Slides on notice that Buscemi  believed that J/Slides would be infringing the design patent once it issued.  J/Slides responded on March 17, 2017, that it would not comply with Buscemi’s demand to cease and desist.

On May 23, 2017, U.S. Patent No. D787,172 (“the ’172 patent) issued.  The ’172 covers a shoe design having a prominent bow and a padlock, as illustrated below.

Buscemi asserts that the ’172 patent covers its 40MM Bow® line of sneakers, one of which is shown here:

On May 25, 2017, two days after the ’172 patent issued, Buscemi filed suit against J/Slides in the Southern District of New York alleging that the J/Slides “BEAUTY” shoes infringe the ’172 patent (Case No. 1:17-cv-03971).    J/Slides’ accused “BEAUTY” shoes also have a prominent bow:

Buscemi’s 40MM Bow® sneakers sell for up to $750, while J/Slides offers the BEAUTY shoes for around $135.  As can be seen, there are similarities between the J/Slides BEAUTY shoes and the ’172 patent. There are also some differences, including the padlock and the heel stitching, which is shown in the ’172 patent and absent in the accused shoe.  It will be interesting to see whether the court or a jury determines that J/Slides’ BEAUTY shoes have the same “look and feel” as the ’172 patent in light of designs known in the art prior to the filing of the ‘172 patent.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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