Crocs Settles with Old Friend Footwear Foam Shoe Manufacturer

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Australia Unlimited's 4-year fight to protect its NothinZ ergonomic shoe comes to end as Crocs settles with the Kent, Wash. small business. Australia Unlimited manufacturers the NothinZ lightweight foam shoe under the Old Friend Footwear name. Crocs had claimed breach of contract and patent and trade dress infringement, while Australia Unlimited sought damages relating to its NothinZ foam shoe brand.

We will continue to market our unique, patented diamond clogs and shock-absorbing footwear worldwide

The long-running legal dispute between shoemakers Crocs, Inc. and Kent, Wash.-based Australia Unlimited, Inc. is over.

Crocs and Australia Unlimited, maker of the NothinZ lightweight ergonomic clog, agreed to settle all outstanding litigation between the parties by filing for dismissal of all claims and counterclaims. The agreement was filed Aug. 5 in the U.S. District Court in Colorado, case number 07-cv-00221-MSK-MJW. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. (Australia Unlimited markets the lightweight foam shoe NothinZ under the Old Friend Footwear brand.)

Crocs had claimed breach of contract and patent and trade dress infringement, while Australia Unlimited sought damages relating to its NothinZ foam shoe brand. Australia Unlimited's claims against Crocs included declarations of non-infringement of patent and trade dress, breach of contract and violations of anti-trust laws.

The settlement between the two shoemakers comes four years after Crocs filed complaints against several companies, including Australia Unlimited, contending the companies were infringing on Crocs' patents for lightweight resin clogs. Kent small businessman Jim Klavano, president of Australia Unlimited, then countersued Crocs.

Klavano said he is satisfied with the recent resolution. From the beginning he's asserted his company never violated any patents and that he sells a unique product designed for performance and comfort, Klavano said.

"We will continue to market our unique, patented diamond clogs and shock-absorbing footwear worldwide," he said. "Australia Unlimited's NothinZ brand offers a distinctive ergonomic, correct fit design with thick, rebounding heels and melting arches."

With the settlement, Klavano said he's eager to get his NothinZ brand lightweight clogs into the hands of people for whom these shoes can really do some good. "We plan to service our niche in the market for a long time," he said.

About Australia Unlimited
Jim Klavano started Australia Unlimited in 1981 in Kent, Wash., and eight years later started designing and manufacturing sheepskin slippers. The company is best know for its Old Friend Footwear slipper brand, which specializes in problem-solving sheepskin footwear. Old Friend Footwear also developed the popular line of ergonomic foam shoes called NothinZ and a line of massage sandals. Old Friend Footwear sells its products in every state in the United States and in markets overseas. Read more about Old Friend Footwear at http://www.oldfriendfootwear.com.

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