Crocs to croak? Casual shoe brand loses patent ruling

MANILA, Philippines - Ask anyone what those hole-ridden plastic clogs are, and they’ll probably call them Crocs. Afer all, the so-ugly-it's-cute shoe has been the banner design for the footwear company for over a decade now.

However, as it turns out, the distinctive design is not a Crocs original – at least, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which recently rejected Crocs’ design patent for the 3rd time.

According to Footwear News, USPTO rejected Crocs’ patent on the grounds that a patent for a similar design had been filed by a different company over a year before Crocs did.

While Crocs said it will appeal the rejection, the news is another blow to the already ailing shoe company. In March 2017, the company announced that it will be closing around 160 retail stores by the end of 2018.

In a news release on its website, though, Crocs insisted that the patent rejection will make “no meaningful impact” on their business.

“The impact of this ruling has been greatly exaggerated in certain news reports,” said Daniel P. Hart, Crocs executive vice president and chief legal officer.

While Crocs’ Philippine stores seem safe from closure for now, only time will tell if the brand will stick around for its Filipino fans.

The shoe brand is notorious for polarizing consumers. The shoe has been much maligned by fashion experts, many of whom call it ugly at best and hideous at worst. At the same time, it has its fair share of fans, including normcore devotees, and a number of celebrities such as chef Mario Batali whose orange Crocs have become his trademark. –