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Greens Condemn Free Trade With 'Robber Barons From The Middle Ages'

February 09, 2004

This is the text of a media release from Michael Organ, the Australian Greens member for the Wollongong-based seat of Cunningham in the House of Representatives.


FREE TRADE? HUMBUG!

Michael Organ, Australian Greens member for Cunningham A small Wollongong manufacturer is being threatened by US company Deckers Outdoor Corporation for using the distinctively Aussie words "ugg boots", Cunningham MP Michael Organ said today.

"Fairy Meadow manufacturer Clobber Leather has been threatened with legal action over the use of the words ugg boots on its website by California-based Deckers which trades as Ugg Holdings [Australia], Inc. in America, since 2000", Mr. Organ said.

"Clobber Leather, which has been in business for 30 years, has gained a world-wide reputation for its products which include ugg boots."

"UGG Australia is basically trying to convince everyone that only their "UGG" labelled ugg boots are the real thing. Clobber Leather has even had people cancel orders because they think the company in my electorate of Cunningham is selling fake boots."

"Decker grabbed the generic name in buying out a California importer of the Australian-made Aussie icons and is now threatening most other sheepskin ugg boot manufacturers and retailers in Australia. Decker now sources their ugg boots from China."

"The government needs to make sure Australian manufacturers' goods are properly protected before crowing about increased access to US markets."

"There's little point in better access when US companies behave like robber barons from the Middle Ages, putting Australian manufacturing jobs at risk," Mr. Organ said.

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