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When is a Porsche Not a Porsche?

November 14, 2009

CrocsWhen it’s a shoe.

That, at least, is what the car maker fears you will think, when eying shoe maker Croc’s weird, holey plastic “Cayman” shoes. Porsche also makes a Cayman, which, while you can’t wear it on your feet, can get you zero to sixty in about 5 seconds.

Despite the dissimilarity, Porsche is suing Croc for use of the Cayman name, which they say violates their trademark. Croc says it intends to defend its brand. Apparently Crocs has sold Cayman shoes since about 2004-05, but the Porsche Cayman was not introduced until 2006, raising the question, who should be suing who?

Porsche is of course no newcomer to corporate theft. Company founder Ferdinand Porsche has long been credited for the design that ultimately became the Volkswagon Beetle, but a new book by a Dutch historian documents how Porsche actually stole the design from the Hungarian-Jewish engineer Josef Ganz.

No word on whether the Cayman Islands, believed to be named for the Carib word for the marine crocodile known to have lived in its waters, has any interest in joining the suit.

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