NY Attorney Oscar Michelen, representing Shoe Designer Karen Kell issued a “Cease & Desist” Letter to national retailer Urban Outfitters. Kell accuses Urban Outfitters of stealing her latest shoe design. The letter demands that Urban Outfitters immediately pull the shoes off the shelf or face litigation.
Karen Kell first developed the design for the shoe in April 2011 and has been marketing it ever since through the Etsy website as well as her own website. Kell claims that Urban Outfitters then put out its own copycat version of the shoe in March 2012.
Urban Outfitters’ “Multi-Loop Shoe” is shown here:
Karen Kell’s “Candy Link Shoe” is shown here:
I am certainly no expert but these shoes certainly look very similar. I would certainly be outraged by this.
Oscar Michelen, who represents “The Karen Kell Collection”, states “It’s a clear and wholesale copying of Ms. Kell’s trademarked design. We are confident that a court will agree with our position should litigation become necessary.”
The “cease and desist letter” states that the timing of Urban Outfitter’s misappropriation of Kell’s design was particularly damaging because Kell is currently in factory production of the shoe, which was previously made exclusively by hand. Additionally, Kell’s shoe was featured on “The Martha Stewart Show” on April 26, 2012. The shoes have gained tremendous popularity which Kell may not now be able to capitalize upon, according to her lawyer.
Kell, who sells some of her other products through Urban Outfitter’s Free People line, adds, “It’s incredibly frustrating to have put all this time, effort and energy into a creative design which became a signature mark of my shoe, only to have Urban Outfitters release a blatant copy of it just as I am about to expand the sale of the shoe on a much bigger level. I’d like to see them explain how and when they came up with this design when I created it over a year ago. Urban Outfitters totally broke the trust I had developed with them.”
The letter sets May 18, 2012 at 4:00 PM as the deadline for Urban Outfitters to comply with the demands contained in the letter. It threatens litigation in Federal District Court if Urban Outfitter fails to comply.
About Karen Kell’s background, four years ago Karen Kell had an idea to make leather shoes and accessories. She moved to Mexico where she discovered a love of vegetable tan leather. She set up a workshop and experimented with molding and carving into leather making beautiful hand crafted shoes, bags, accessories and clothing. She now has her workshop in Los Angeles, California and sells her products as “The Karen Kell Collection”.