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Dr. Martens Sues Temu For Allegedly Manipulating Google Search Results

Dr. Martens Sues Temu For Allegedly Manipulating Google Search Results
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Dr. Martens has filed a new lawsuit against Temu for infringing its trademarks, according to a report from The Sunday Times.

According to The Times, the British bootmaker alleged in a new lawsuit filed last week at the UK’s High Court that the Chinese marketplace paid to manipulate Google searches so that lookalike items appear above its own products in search results.

The complaint alleged that Temu is promoting keywords like “Dr. Martens” and “Airwair” in certain markets, which resulted in look-alike boots appearing above Dr. Martens’ originals in Google search results, the report said.

Dr. Martens also wrote in the complaint that Temu’s actions also go against Google’s own policies, which prohibit ads violating trademark rights. This, however, typically doesn’t link to the use of specific keywords.

When reached by FN, Dr. Martens declined to comment on the lawsuit.

This is not the first time Dr. Martens has taken legal action against a fast fashion chain. In November 2020, the company filed a complaint against Zoetop Business Co., Limited, which does business as Shein and sister retailer Romwe in the U.S.

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Twenty-six distinct alleged infringing styles were highlighted in the 2020 filing, including a “Men Lace-up Martin boot” similar to Dr. Martens’ classic leather boot and a white “Lace-Up Front Combat Boot” that looks similar to the Dr. Martens “Jadon Boot.”

Dr. Martens’ Shein case mirrored a similar 2019 lawsuit the footwear company filed against BooHoo Group Inc., Nasty Gal Ltd. and PrettyLittleThing.com Ltd. for trademark infringement and unfair competition over the designs of several of its shoes, including its signature 1460 boots and the “Jadon” silhouette.

The lawsuit comes just weeks after an activist investor pressured Dr. Martens to move towards a strategic review and potential sale.

New York-based investment firm Marathon Partners Equity Management, LLC, which owns more than 5 million shares of Dr. Martens common stock, announced earlier this month that it recently sent a letter to Dr. Martens chairman Paul Mason and the board of directors urging the company to begin evaluating “alternatives for the business with the goal of maximizing shareholder value,” which includes a potential sale of the business, the letter read.

Since its IPO in 2021, shares of Dr. Martens have dropped almost 83 percent. Given the company’s stalled earnings progress and investor coolness, Marathon argued that Dr. Marten’s tenure as a public company is no longer serving shareholders in the most productive way.

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In January, Dr. Martens reported revenues for third quarter that were down 21 percent to 267.1 million pounds (or $340 million).

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