US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump has been ordered by a US District Judge to testify in a dispute over her company’s ripping off a rival’s shoe design. “Ms. Trump’s public statements regarding active and comprehensive brand management lead to a reasonable inference that the shoe at issue would not have been released without her approval,” the judge said. “In such a situation, a deposition is appropriate.” US District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan on Friday rejected a request by the senior White House aide’s lawyers that Ivanka be exempt from a deposition in the lawsuit against her company and have asked that she must spend two hours responding to questions posed during a deposition. The deposition should occur by the end of October on a mutually acceptable schedule.
The lawsuit, brought by Aquazzura Italia SRL claims that Ivanka Trump’s company IT Collection LLC and shoemaker Marc Fisher Holdings illegally copied its best-selling “Wild Thing” shoe in designing the Ivanka Trump “Hettie” model. The company also alleged that the “Wild Thing” is not the first to be copied by Trump’s company.
Aquazzura requested to question Trump before a trial, but her legal team asked the judge to rule that she doesn’t have to testify. The company’s lawyers wrote citing public statements by Trump, including one in which she was quoted saying, “There’s not a shoe I’m not intimately involved in designing.”
“The purpose of the deposition is not for harassment, but because Ms. Trump possesses individual knowledge not only of what did or did not occur with regard to the shoes at issue, but of how she handles the supervision of her licensees generally, and what steps she takes to avoid licensees’ intentional copying,” the lawyers wrote.
In ruling, the judge said, “While that declaration does assert a lack of personal knowledge of the design at issue, plaintiff asserts otherwise. That is the stuff of which factual disputes in litigation are made.”
(Inputs from AP)