Grendene's Ipanema Troca Tira flip-flops

Brazilian shoe designer Fernando Mello, from the city of Franca, São Paulo, has filed a lawsuit against Brazilian shoe company, Grendene, especialized particularly in shoes made of PVC and EVA, for allegedly copying his flip-flop idea.

Designer Fernando Mello
(Photo: Portal G1)
The designer argues that he created the idea of flip-flops with removable straps between 2007 and 2008. At that time, he tried to unsuccesfully sell the idea to another shoe company. Then, in July, 2012, he sent a prototype to Grendene. The company demonstrated intrested in manufacturing the product, but never closed the deal.

Grendene was founded in 1971,  in the city of Farroupilha, state of Rio Grande do Sul (south of Brazil), and it is currently headquarted in the city of Sobral, state of Ceará (northeast of Brazil). The company is known for its licensed flip-flops using the name of celebrities like model Gisele Bündchen and singer Ivete Sangalo. Currently, the removable-straps flip flop is not listed in the company's website.

Earlier this month, Mello found out through TV commercials that Grendene was selling his flip-flops and decided to sue the company. The suit was filed on December 07, 2012, at the Third Civil District Court of the city of Franca,state of São Paulo and is asking R$ 5 million in moral damages, 3% of the revenue from the sales of the flip-flops and the withdrawal of the product from the stores.

The designer had requested an advanced relief for the search and seizures of all the allegedly infringing flip-flops. However, the district court judge found that there was not enough evidence for the advanced relief and determined an expert examination in order to verify the allegedly counterfeit. Read the full decision here.

As evidence of his arguments, the designer submitted copies of exchanges of emails with Grendene and the filing receipt of a patent application at the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office dated from 2008 of his removable straps idea (Application No. MU8800678-6, filed on March 26, 2008). Download the full Application here.

Mello's Patent Application was definetly shelved on May 02, 2012 due to the non-payment of the final fees. From that date, a 3 months term started for Applicant to request the restoration of this application. If not, then Mello's idea has turned into public domain.

Fernando Mello's Patent Application No. MU8800678-6

Fernando Mello's Patent Application No. MU8800678-6

Fernando Mello's Patent Application No. MU8800678-6

The lawsuit now awaits Grendene's reply. The company has until January 17, 2013 to submit it.


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