dr martens leather satchel Docs give boot to Aust logo claim
Dr Martens today put the legal boot into Australian footwear manufacturer Raben Footwear which claimed it owned the DM’s famous logo.
The Sydney based company felt a sense of grievance towards the UK bootmaker over previous legal action in Australia, deputy High Court judge Peter Prescott, QC, said today.
The judge began his ruling with a history of Dr Martens, which he said was “so improbable that no novelist would have dared to invent it”.
The air sole was developed by two German doctors for elderly women with foot trouble.
The concept was spotted in the 1950s by Bill Griggs, of Wollaston, Northamptonshire, whose grandson Stephen gave evidence during the hearing in London.
They marketed the boot for workmen from 1960 onwards and they soon became standard issue police boots.
“The boots were also standard uniform for skinheads and football hooligans .” added the judge.
He said they were now worn by pop stars, policemen,
supermodels and street buskers in 250 different styles in 78 countries, with 60 per cent of sales in the US.
Dr Martens is a registered trade mark that belongs to the successors of the two German doctors and is used by R Griggs Group Ltd under licence.
The Griggs group also has its own trademark on the boot, AirWair, and wanted a new logo to combine both names.
This was when the trouble with Australian company Raben began, said the judge.
“As a result, a director of Raben, Mr Garry Lewy, went into the witness box.
“He told me that Raben had been ill treated by Griggs in connection with previous litigation in Australia, and that they hold Griggs in distrust.”
The judge said it was clear that Raben was hostile towards Griggs and that it was possible that there could be a change of mind in the future and attempts made to stop the UK company using the logo or sell it to a competitor.