Where The Wild Things Are: Ivanka Trump Loses Bid To Quash Deposition Over Her Alleged Theft Of Shoe Designs

Ivanka Trump is facing a difficult lawsuit over alleged theft of the designs of an Italian shoemaker, Aquazurra Italia, as part of their “Wild Things” line. The company filed a trademark infringement claim against her and her company in June 2016 and a court recently rejected motions filed on Trump’s behalf.  Those motions included a claim that Ivanka Trump’s duties as a high-ranking government official made her participation in the litigation too difficult. The claim was rejected.  Part of the court’s rationale for rejected her arguments are distinctly reminiscent of the litigation over her father’s immigration order.

The lawsuit claims that Trump’s “Hettie” shoe was a clear ripoff of their “Wild Thing” model.  They do look remarkably similar.

The crux of the defense is that there is nothing particularly unique about the design and that without such “distinctiveness” their cannot be a viable claim.

It is the motion seeking to quash a deposition demand that was most interesting.  The attorneys not only claimed that Trump lacked “any unique information” to justify a deposition (a weak claim) but also that her “special circumstances” as a presidential advisor should be considered.

She represents to the court that “I had no involvement in the conception, design, production or sale of the ‘Hettie Shoe.'”  She instead implicated the company’s licensee, Marc Fisher (also a party to the action).

On the presidential duties argument, her counsel argue that appearing for a deposition “would be an unnecessary distraction and would interfere with her ability to perform her duties at the White House.”

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest however turned down the motion — rejecting the notion that Trump was either too ill-informed or too busy to appear.

There was one particularly ironic aspect to the decision.  Like her father, Ivanka’s public statements were cited as evidence against her.  Forrest wrote that “Ms. Trump’s public statements regarding active and comprehensive brand management lead to a reasonable inference that the shoe at issue would not have been released without her approval.”  In other words, Ivanka sells her products by projecting the image that these are her designs and decisions that go into the clothing lines.  The filing contradicts that image and the court (like the Ninth and Fourth Circuits in the immigration litigation) took the public statements as material to the legal analysis.

She will therefore have to appear for a relatively short deposition (less than two hours) in Washington by October of this year.

58 thoughts on “Where The Wild Things Are: Ivanka Trump Loses Bid To Quash Deposition Over Her Alleged Theft Of Shoe Designs”

    1. An envious ideologically bent commenter.

      Will Ivanka lose? I doubt it unless she feels forced to settle.
      Did the suit occur for the plaintiff company to get publicity? Yes.

  1. My wife is an expert at shopping something many women seem to be expert at. I showed the two pictures above to my wife and immediately she said they were completely different. She surmises that the pom-poms are made of different materials based upon the thickness of the material. She felt Ivanka’s shoes sparkled and made it appear like evening ware while the other was smart casual. She felt the materials were different and likely the non-Ivanka brand was leather, while Ivanka’s was not. The straps and other features appeared to be different, Ivanka’s were more dainty, but it is true both had heals and soles and both were red.

    I’m not a shopper so I don’t know, but now I believe my initial impression of using suit as a method of advertising is even more likely.

    1. Allan, kudos to your wife! Pricing is also a good measure. Since I don’t know that for either shoe, I compared them strictly visually. The left one has a difference in the color of “frou frou” totally bright red. The other appears to have some purple. The construction is a bit different. How anyone would know if the designer had seen the Italian shoe prior to creating the shoe. Also, things like this go through multiple approvals and redesign. Italian leather would increase the price considerably. Attention JT: can you get the pricing?

  2. Breaking News! A Trump is being sued by someone. Oh, and issac doesn’t like anything named or involved with Trump.

    Never forget that there is one profession that greases the wheels in nearly every tale: Lawyers. They of course would never be considered the root cause of our many, many problems; merely the fertilizer.

  3. I call BS! I’m sure this “shoe design” has been around for decades. I think Ginger Rogers wore it! If the Italian company was stupid enough to pay some “designer” for this, they deserve to go broke! In my college days we would have called it an “FM” pump. LOL!

  4. Could it be the notorious Russians have colluded with Ivanka to manufacture these shoes which swayed it’s wearer to vote for President Trump? Oh my, another attempt by the President at obstruction.

    1. Russian labor is too expensive so the Trump Kushner Dynasty uses Chinese labor while they launder the Russian money.

  5. Topic for the blog: Medical Monopoly Capitalism. Why does a prescription drug pilll which costs about $4 in Paris cost $4,000.00 in NY?
    Why do the politicians avoid the crux of the problems?
    Why do the politicians talk about your right to health insurance, instead of your right to health care?
    The Dems are almost as lame as the RepubliCons.
    We need the government of the United States to sponsor the health care clinics, hospitals, doctors, drug distribution and drug manufacturing. Do not fashion this after the VA system where many of the doctors work part time and the other time they are out making more dimes.
    Prosecute doctors who prescribe too many killer drugs.
    Set up a national website for each person who gets a prescription which each doctor must read and each pharmacist must read. That way Uncle Donnie cannot have four doctors and four pharmacies doling out opiates to him.
    Let the private clinics compete and private doctors compete with the social government system so that the rich people whose itShay don’t stink can still think that they are doing better.
    Tell the millionaire doctors to eat itShay and go to Cuba if they want a better life. That way we won’t have to go to Cuba to get good health care.

    This is the most important topic in our nation.. It is not about shoes. It has some legal connotations and fits with the blog’s purpose. If the foo itShays wear it. No Ivanka discussion today and no cover charge anytime.

    1. This blog should know more than any other, Paris doesn’t have the TORT laws we do, frivolous law suits in front of juries get awards sky high. So settlements are made out of court and our pharmecutical companies pay through the roof. TORT change is imperative, everyone running for President has promised that. Probably not Hillary.

  6. We have the equivalent of a Marx Brothers movie in the White House. Hollywood simply can’t make this stuff up.

    The President, “Talk to my First Advisor, my son in law. If he can’t help you talk to my Special Advisor to the President-Me, my daughter. If she can’t help you, talk to that bloated sop over there-no not me, the other bloated sop. OK, OK, wait a minute, I’ll get one of my sons; I have three, I think.”

  7. There is only so much Design left in the shoe world. Pretty much designers have covered it all and we are just recycling the designs.
    But I must say those shoe designs barely qualify considering how little material they use.
    The only thing left is to nail
    Horseshoes to our feet.

    1. Autumn, if you want a good insight into the current HRC sore loser crowd’s mindset, go read a couple of Joy-Ann Reid’s tweets about JA. She loathes him and he must have hit a sore spot because she constantly belittles any thing he suggests.
      Thanks for the link and especially the Jimmy Dore material. Love that guy.
      Tulsi 2020!

    2. Good link, Autumn! Moribund. DOA. Wheeze and Whistle… Time for a new party indeed!

      Not that it matters much, but traditions must be upheld. As the Empire collapses under it’s own weight of greed and corruption, just as so many erstwhile Empires have done before it, last ditch efforts at redemption are as “de rigeur” as they are futile.

      BTW, Macron’s is not a new party. It’s a gossamer thin disguise draped over the same old neoliberal party which they the called “Socialist” as an insiders joke. It’s had many names and many faces in many countries, but it’s the same heads I win and tails you loose type of sordid love affair between the haves and the have nots.

  8. A little more to the story:

    “Other shoes sold by Trump’s IT Collection and named in the suit also appear strikingly similar to those created by Aquazzura. The Italian company claims Trump can sell them at a fraction of the cost because she has dodged the costs of their original designs. The Hettie shoe sells for $130 while the Wild Thing has a pricetag of $785.

    The lawsuit accuses Trump and Fisher of “seeking the same success Aquazzura experienced, but without having to put in the hard creative work.”

    Trump stopped selling another shoe model similar to an Aquazzura design after the Italian company complained, according to the lawsuit.

    Aquazzura is seeking unspecified damages.”

    The lawsuit will work itself out. The notion that she shouldn’t have to appear because she was busy spoke volumes.

    1. Hard creative work? I would believe that for a Christian Lauboutin, but not for red high heeled sandals. If you see my post below, I’ve linked to around 950,000 hits on GOOGLE for “red high heeled sandal with ankle wrap and tassal”. It’s a very common design. Who would think such a design, having been sold by myriad companies for 60 years, was worth $785? It’s possible that superior quality craftsmanship and comfort might be worth that much more, but the claim is it’s the design that jacks up the price to the stratosphere. Really? The design? I’ve been able to buy this design my entire adult life. It’s like claiming last year’s “gladiator sandal” trend was proprietary.

      1. That said, it is entirely possible that designers across America looked at runways and said, gee, tasseled ankle wrap sandals are on trend this year. Let’s go make one! That happens with stilettos, gladiator sandals, espadrilles…you name it. Women know what’s in style from year to year, and there will always be myriad designers offering it for a range of costs. That’s what trendsetting in. Now, in my link, you will see a brand that is specifically marketed as a Wild Things copycat. THAT sandal does look identical, but likely has lower quality materials. If you look at my link that shows the Wild Things and Hettie (or Hetal depending on the link) sandal from the top, they do not look that similar. It’s like putting a bow on the vamp. That’s been done for 100 years. And if bows on pumps get back in style, then there will be a trendsetter to first try it, and then many others will come up with their own bows on pumps. But they did not copy the design. They followed the trend and made their own.

        Now, do a search for images of “Manolo Blahnik.” (Auto-correct, please catch up to fashion.) There are simple pumps with rhinestone buckle vamps, and there are extraordinary avant guard creations I don’t think I would wear, but are definitely unique. There are a great many pumps with rhinestone buckles. But there aren’t that manny made entirely of pom poms or vining leaves or …. wait a second … there’s an ankle wrap pump with a tasseled vamp. They should sue Aquazurra!

      2. Karen S – I think for $795 the shoes must hurt the wearer. Pain is part of the process.

  9. I’ve seen this lawsuit before. It was also previously a play. That play was called “Much Ado About Nothing.”

    Lots of shoes are very similar. There’s nothing unique to either shoe and they each have several generic features found in countless women’s shoes.

    For more exciting shoe lawsuits, consider Allen Edmond’s Wingtip Oxford men’s shoe going for $395 a pair.


    They’ll be suing Cole Haan for their $140 knockoff available at Men’s Warehouse. Just like JT observed, “They do look remarkably similar.”


    Stay tuned for more gripping legal intrigue!

    1. “Can we get rid of Ivanka and Jared out of the WH?”

      No. One of the reasons why they were put there is to thwart pesky lawsuits.

      1. Black and brown. Red heels tend to show dirt and mud a lot. Plus, I wear jeans and boots a lot anymore when I go out. About the only time I put on a dress, is when I go to court with Penelope,

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

  10. If those, who are still incensed and exasperated over the loss of the election, could find a way to sue 11 year old Barron Trump for something–anything–they would. Most probably, the merchandise with the Ivanka Trump label, is both designed and manufactured by a multitude of licensees. Shoe manufacturers, dress manufacturers, umbrella manufacturers, purse manufacturers. . .you name it. . .they all vy and scramble for an opportunity to produce product with well-known labels. A perfect example–walk into your local Disney Store in the mall. . .do you really believe that Disney, itself, is manufacturing those flip flops, shorts, toys, etc.? Think again. Disney may have, as part of its standard contract with these multiple manufacturers, that it reserves the right to reject or refuse any design or to inspect the quality of the merchandise, but it is ridiculous and utterly naive to believe that Disney is going over every design element of every product. It simply doesn’t happen. Inspection of the final product? Yes. Approval of the final product? Yes. Disney is thrilled to allow the various manufacturers to have the burden of designing and manufacturing for it. Lots and lots of money. . .very little risk borne by Disney. The part about Ivanka actively and comprehensively managing the brand is much the same way that Disney actively and comprehensively manages it’s brand. Quality, workmanship and, yes, design, are all inspected, but the various licensees and manufacturers are the ones producing and designing these products. This is just another obvious ploy to throw a monkey wrench into Trump’s administration–to bury it in one more unsubstantiated distraction after another. Pitiful.

    1. The suit was filed before the election, and the deposition of someone in her position is common in such cases. Why are you assuming anything else is going on here?

      1. You mean, why would anyone–anyone–mistakenly assume that something fishy is going on when, simultaneously, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom’s, etc., suddenly, and quite coincidentally, have an epiphany–at precisely the same time–that Ivanka Trump’s merchandise needed to be pulled from the shelves? You mean that kinda thing going on? Huh? You mean the decision, by multiple corporations, again, simultaneously, that her multiple lines were underperforming. . .so much so that merchandise needed to be cleared from the floors and future orders cancelled? Yeah. Got me as to why anyone would consider that there just may–may–be something else going on here. Ivanka is being treated the same as anyone else. No dpubt, Obama’s daughters would be allotted the same treatment if they were in business. Right.

        1. According to Donald Trump, lawsuits just mean you’re a smart businessperson and his daughter has followed i his business footsteps. Her company was involved in lawsuits before he was elected, and will no doubt continue to be. Lawsuits about copied designed are not that unusual, and they generally are not resolved based on an early review of photographs of the design at issue. The lawsuit here is following the typical course for such things.

          1. Yes. Of course. Very typical. Nothing unusual going on. Ivanka’s merchandise was, simultaneously, pulled from the store floors of Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom’s. Discounters, such as Marshalls and TV Maxx, hurried to remove all display signs indicating the racks which held her merchandise, and any items, with her label, were quickly mixed in with the other schlocky crap routinely carried by these outlets. Yes. Of course. Nothing unusual. If you don’t think that Ivanka is being singled out, for special attention–and, not the good kind of special attention–then I have a bridge to sell you. Don’t worry. . .it’s only slightly used.

            1. First, all of the things you cite happened considerably after this action was filed in June of 2016. Secondly, a business choosing to disassociate itself whether for marketing or other reasons from a public figure is fundamentally different from suing a business for selling infringing products.

              1. A pattern of conduct and behavior, specifically targeting Donald Trump and anyone–including family members–connected with or to him. An attempt to cause as much disruption, as much chaos and as much aggravation as is humanely possible. If you can’t, or, more likely, won’t acknowledge or perceive this, not much that I, or anyone else, can say to convince you of what is blatantly obvious to most. . .or, shall I say, to most who are honest and forthcoming. Ever hear of clothing designers who publicly and vociferously refused to design for Michelle Obama? Yeah. Imagine the uproar. The outrage. The boycotts of those clothing lines. The death threats. Yes. Of course, there is nothing here.

                1. I absolutely agree that a great many people are trying to ensure that Trump’s political agenda is defeated, and a significant number are going to far to do that. However, I haven’t seen anything that would suggest that this company’s lawsuit is anything other than what it purports to be. Trump preaches an approach to business that results in lawsuits, and his daughter has suggested on more than one occasion that she sees nothing wrong in his approach. Those similarly minded pursue infringement litigation as part of their business plans whether they have legally valid claims or not.

                  1. Richard – Trump is not afraid to sue people, either. With 565 businesses up and running, my guess is that he keeps his lawyers pretty busy.

    2. bam bam – the Trump Empire consists of 565 business, most of which are just selling the brand name to someone else and taking a percentage.

  11. How does one walk in those contraptions? Seems to me that you have to be able to walk in it before claiming a trademark as a shoe. Maybe trademark the heel as a stiletto………

    1. I agree. It looks more like Exhibit A, the murder weapon, than something a person could actually walk in.

  12. It’s a red ankle strap high heeled handle with marabou feathers. That design has been around for decades. It’s like trying to claim design theft of black pumps.

    So it may just have been convergent evolution on trend.

    In addition, there are routinely copycats listed in the gossip mags’ “get the look for less” column. And, as anyone who saw The Devil Wears Prada knows, a cerulean themed fashion show will trickle inspiration all the way down to the JC Penny’s discount bin within a year.

    I am unsure how much legal protection design enjoys.

    Legality aside, if they can prove that Ivanka’s designer deliberately copied the Italian, then that would be wrong. Even though she would have had no way of knowing if one of her designers was copying, the buck stops at the head of a company. I wouldn’t hold her personally responsible, if true, but her company would be. Worst case scenario, how do all the knock off companies deliberately marketing their copies as bargains over brand survive?

    I rather like the look of the one on the right better, although the ankle strap on the left would have more stability. Whose is whose?

    1. Now Christian Lauboutin…that flash of red sole is iconic. THAT is a unique and recognizable design element.

      Sigh. I wish I could one day splurge on frivolous Lauboutins…

    2. I was wrong. It’s a tassel at the vamp, not a marabou feather. And the sandal I liked better was Ivanka’s for $85:


      vs Aquazurra’s Wild Thing for $785:


      Give me a break. Upon closer inspection, the tasseled vamps and ankle straps look different. So they are basically claiming the right to any red high heeled sandal with ankle strap and tassal detail on the vamp.

      Good luck with that. Their lawyers are going to sue a lot of shoe designers. And Aquazurra was not the first to come up with that design.

      1. There’s also Yoins: https://www.brownsfashion.com/shopping/Red-Wild-Thing-Heels-11766693?size=&storeId=9359?lxs=1&lxsc=us&lxcc=usd&gclid=CjwKEAjwvr3KBRD_i_Lz6cihrDASJADUkGCa4yid6H1Krritlc2CcMCOKBtEBagjEmYEqbEr9P4RwRoCHJrw_wcB

        River Island (marketed as a deliberate Wild Things knock off):

        And at that point I’ve reached my quota for links to make it through the Word Mess filter. So GOOGLE “red high heel sandal with ankle strap and tassal vamp”. I got 954,000 hits.

        I’m curious. Why would Aquazurra go after Ivanka’s different design when River Island is deliberately marketing theirs as a Wild Things knock off? (I’m channelling the Church Lady from SNL). Hmmmm….oh, I don’t know….could it be…POLITICS?

        1. “Why would Aquazurra go after Ivanka’s different design when River Island is deliberately marketing theirs as a Wild Things knock off?”

          Perhaps advertising revenue. Going against Ivanka will get a lot more press for the same dollar.

Comments are closed.