Friday, May 23, 2008, 5/23/2008 10:21:00 AM

Boot Suit Settled

By Todd
We don't know much about the trade secrets of boots, but two companies that make boots tried to kick each other in a version of the "trade secrets two-step." Rocky Brands had claimed the defendants were using Rocky trade secrets to make "knock-off" boots.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this year in U.S. District Court against Glen Bratcher of Springhill, Tenn.; Westwood Footwear and Accessories, Nashville; and Nantong Hong Yi Wang Shoes Co. of China.

Rocky sought preliminary and permanent injunctions against the defendants.Because of the settlement, the lawsuit and a counterclaim filed by Bratcher and Westwood Footwear have been dismissed. The court ordered that the terms of the settlement be filed with the court under seal, and that the court retain jurisdiction to enforce the settlement.

Rocky Brands CEO Mike Brooks said the company "is extremely pleased with the resolution of the case."At the time the lawsuit was filed, Brooks said the company was concerned that its customers were being confused by the "defendants' apparent copying of Rocky's trademarks as well as Rocky's distinctive trade dress."

According to the lawsuit, Bratcher is a former employee of EJ Footwear in Tennessee, which was acquired by Rocky in 2005. At that point, Bratcher became an employee of Rocky, working as a vice president of product development for Durango and Rocky Western, until he left in early 2007 and formed Westwood Footwear.

Nantong was a shoe manufacturer for EJ Footwear and later for Rocky Brands. The lawsuit asserted that Bratcher and Nantong had access to trade secrets while working for Rocky, and were using that information to make Westwood boots. The court action sought preliminary and permanent injunctions to stop what it claimed was the misuse of Rocky trade secrets.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

back to top