Hari Mari Preps Lawsuit Against J.Crew for Allegedly Copying 2 Patents – Sourcing Journal

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Hari Mari is preparing to take legal action against J.Crew for allegedly copying two of its footwear patents.

In a statement sent to FN, the Dallas-based footwear brand said it intends to defend these patents that are “crucial to preserving its distinction and uniqueness in the premium footwear and sandal market.”

Hari Mari co-founder Lila Stewart confirmed to FN that a lawsuit is in the works and will be filed in the brand’s home state of Texas. FN has reached out to J.Crew representatives for comment.

According to the company, what’s at issue is Hari Mari’s patented memory foam encased toe post that fits between the wearer’s first and second toes, which the brand designed and patented through a seven-year application process with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO), securing its first patent on the design in 2018, followed by a second in 2021.

Hari Mari, flip flops

A look at Hari Mari’s patent protected flip flops.COURTESY OF HARI MARI

Hari Mari is claiming that J.Crew and other larger brands have started to mimic the design in their own footwear, after carrying Hari Mari’s products in their stores. “We use it across all our lines for both men and women, so you’ll find it on every pair we produce,” Stewart said.

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Specifically, Hari Mari is calling out the Double Layer Flip Flops that are currently still available on J.Crew’s Factory website.

“Hari Mari’s MemoryFoamToe has been our brand’s unique calling card from outset,” Hari Mari co-founder Jeremy Stewart said in a statement. “It’s what makes our premium flip-flops super comfortable out of the gates, getting rid of the uncomfortable break-in periods and ‘war on your toes’ that plague most sandal brands. It’s truly Hari Mari’s defining factor.”

“We spent an incredible amount of time and resources working in cooperation with the USPTO to obtain these patents, and to see a former customer of J.Crew’s size begin to blatantly mimic our IP is concerning, and it clearly sets a troublesome precedent in the consumer space,” he added.

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J.Crew once carried Hari Mari’s sandals in its stores and online through its “Brands We Love” section. The two companies launched their partnership in May 2019 with styles from the footwear brand’s spring 2019 collection. But, according to Hari Mari, the business relationship ended a year later in 2020, after J.Crew filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The new, allegedly copied sandals first appeared on J.Crew’s site this year, Hari Mari added, and are still available for purchase.

“We will unquestionably defend our IP,” Jeremy Stewart added. “Our brand’s designs are at the core of Hari Mari’s growth and position within the marketplace, and ultimately its livelihood. It’s what gives us the gumption to believe that one day Hari Mari can be the same size as J.Crew. If that can’t be actively protected, then we really need to question what IP is good for.”

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Founded in 2012 by Jeremy and Lila Stewart, Hari Mari’s products can be found in over 900 retailers across the U.S. and online.

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