Judge orders Ivanka Trump to answer questions in lawsuit over shoe design

An Italian designer has filed a lawsuit claiming that Ms Trump copied their designs

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Sunday 25 June 2017 15:27
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Ivanka Trump's shoe designs have come under fire by Italian designer Aquazurra, who says the company copied their designs
Ivanka Trump's shoe designs have come under fire by Italian designer Aquazurra, who says the company copied their designs

Ivanka Trump has been ordered to answer questions for a lawsuit with an Italian shoe designer.

A federal judge said Donald Trump's daughter, an unpaid White House advisor, will have to give a deposition in a case filed by Aquazurra Italia in June 2016.

The company has claimed Ms Trump's fashion line copied what they refer to as their "coveted" designs, particularly the "Wild Things" shoe.

​Aquzzurra said Ms Trump's "Hettie" shoe design is too close to that design to be a coincidence.

Ms Trump's lawyers have claimed in court documents that Aquazurra designs are not distinctive enough to prove that their client copied the Italian shoe company's style.

They call the lawsuit a publicity stunt. It was filed as Mr Trump was about to receive the Republican nomination for President.

Ms Trump stepped down from her corporate position before her father took office and her legal team said she should not be deposed because she "does not possess any unique information" about her company's shoe designs.

US District Judge Katherine Forrest did not think the deposition would interfere or distract from Ms Trump's White House duties and that the President's daughter was important to the case due to her position as a senior executive.

It is customary in cases such as these to depose high-level executives.

She also noted 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."

Ms Trump's fashion company has also recently filed several trademark applications in China, adding fuel to the fire that is the debate over the Trump family possibly using their political position for business gain.

In Februrary 2017, Ms Trump's fashion line was dropped by nationwide retailer Nordstrom. They cited poor sales, but there was political backlash from Trump supporters who called for a boycott of the stores.

Mr Trump, per his normal habit, took to Twitter and said his daughter had been treated "unfairly" by the company.

However, Nordstrom's sales and favourability ratings stayed steady - signalling that perhaps not all Trump supporters were opposed to the decision or that other consumers are continued and even increased their shopping at the retailer, according to Bloomberg.

Ms Trump Aquazurra deposition is set to take place in Washington DC sometime before October 2017.

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