High-end footwear designer, Aquazzara, has claimed that its designs have been copied by Ivanka Trump. Trump’s shoe line has launched a new red heel with tassels named the “Hettie” which Aquazzura claims is deceptively similar to its own “Wild Thing” heel. Aquazzura’s Wild Thing retails for $785 while Trump’s sells for a mere $145.

Trump has come out and said that her Hettie shoe is “representative of a trending fashion style” and “is not subject to intellectual property law protection”. Trump has noted that there are a number of similar styles out there made by a variety of brands.

Whether there is protectable intellectual property in fashion is somewhat a “grey” (or shall we say “stone-grey”) area. In New Zealand, copyright law protects against the copying of original designs. The issue is, with so many similar styles out there, was the fashion item that was copied really an “original” work or was that item a copy of something else.  There is a fine line between copying another design and thereby breaching copyright, and where a designer has simply taken inspiration from currently trending styles.

If Trump is right that her Hettie shoe is one of many similar designs in the market, we suspect that Aquazzura’s lawyers will have to fight to be the only retailer of this style of tassel heel.