That's hot....the Paris Hilton shoe line is being accused of the infringement of patent rights over a heart shaped pad on the insole of its shoes.
The Business Journal reports that Paris Hilton, along with her shoe company Antebi Footwear Group, are getting slapped with a lawsuit that claims the infringement of patent rights held by the company Brooke Hollow Inc.; which does business as Gwyneth Shoes.
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Western Washington, claims that Gwyneth Shoes holds a patent for "Shoe Sock Having a Heart Shaped Pad". The shoe sock is just an insole with a pale pink heart. The Paris Hilton shoe line allegedly infringes on this patent because it features an insole with a pink heart shaped pad. According to the complaint, the insoles were introduced by Gwyneth Shoes back in 2007 during trade shows attended by retailers and other shoe designers; such as WSA in Las Vegas and FFANY in New York. The company claims that in addition to a patent, the insole serves as a source and brand identifier for Gwyneth Shoes.
The lawsuit claims that prior to the launch of the Paris Hilton shoe line in 2008, employees of defendant shoe company Antebi were present at the trade shows that Gwyneth Shoes were featured.
The lawsuit also quotes Ms. Hilton's MySpace post about her shoe line where she takes credit for "creating" the insole. She writes: "I personally chose the styling, design, materials and colors for the line and also wanted to make sure it was super comfortable! Each shoe has a heart shaped comfort pad sewn into the inner sole, so you can dance all night long! I also made the soles of the shoes pink so no matter how you look at them, they are super cute!"
It will be interesting to see what the court will rule. Whatever the case may be, with patent infringement, it won't matter if there was intentional copying. If the infringing product is too close to the patented product, it is good enough. In this case, if the shoe fits, then Gwyneth could walk away victorious.