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June 15, 1999|Stephen Gregory

Suits and Shoes: A Manhattan Beach competitor of the trendy Dr. Martens line of shoes, boots and sandals sued the brand's parent company and U.S. distributor Monday in Los Angeles over claims that the purveyor of footwear for the self-consciously hip knowingly bills products "Made in England" that contain components fabricated in Asia. Skechers USA Inc., which filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, accused Dr. Martens' parent, London-based R. Griggs Group, and Dr. Martens Airwair USA, the brand's Oregon-based distributor, of unfair competition. In turn, R. Griggs Group filed suit Monday in San Francisco against Skechers USA, alleging its rival is distributing shoes and sandals that are almost indistinguishable from Dr. Martens footwear. Marcy Bergman, an attorney representing Griggs, said her client and Skechers had been in talks to settle the British company's "trade dress" infringement claims for the last two months.

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