New Delhi: In a bid to crack down on several retailers over alleged infringement of its registered designs and trademarks, the local arm of American footwear retailer Crocs has been pursuing legal remedies against retailers such as Bata India Ltd, Relaxo Footwear Ltd and Coqui among others, in several lower courts in Delhi.

The cases have now moved to the Delhi high court, and will be heard over the next few months.

In a report dated 22 December The Times of India first reported that Crocs had sued multiple retailers for design and trademark infringement.

To be sure, the company started the investigation process in June, to curb the sale of products similar to its distinct looking clog style shoes in the country.

“We have engaged in a long judicial and investigative process to protect our brand," said Nissan Jospeh, managing director, Crocs India Pvt Ltd, indicating that the retailer’s American legal team too was part of the investigative process that looked into sale of similar styled products across multiple retailers.

Cases of design infringement against Bata have now reached the Delhi high court after the footwear manufacturer challenged the validity of Crocs’s design registration. Another trademark infringement case against Chinese company Coqui is currently being heard by the high court. Similar cases are pending before lower courts.

Mint has reviewed a copy of all the orders.

As early as August, Crocs obtained an interim and ex parte (without hearing the defendant) injunction against Bata India from a lower court in Delhi. Crocs has at least 36 design registrations in the country, according to its lawyers.

Bata challenged the validity of these registrations, which is now being heard by the Delhi high court. The case will come up for hearing in January.

In an e-mailed response, a spokesperson for Bata India said that as the matter is sub-judice, “we will not wish to comment on this until the final hearing."

Crocs also sued a Chinese brand, Coqui, owned by Jinske (China) Ltd, for trademark infringement. According to Crocs, the mark Coqui was deceptively similar to Crocs. A Delhi lower court granted an ex parte injunction stopping the sale of Coqui shoes.

Top executives at the American retailer said that losses incurred from imitation of Crocs’ design by other retailers could run into tens of crores.

To be sure, most products were being retailed at a cost far lower than what Crocs retails its products at. While a pair of Crocs sells upwards of 1,200, other brands were selling a pair of shoes as low as 400.

The brand currently has 34 stores in India and the number of stand-alone stores is expected to go up to 100 by the end of 2017. It also sells its products though shop-in-shops or third party retailers.

Brands in India have had a history of spats over design and copyright infringement.

Most recently, leather goods maker Hidesign India Pvt Ltd sued Delhi-based footwear and apparel retailer Woodland India over copyright infringement of one of its bags.

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