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California Shoe Designer Karen Kell Accuses Urban Outfitters of Stealing Her Shoe Design

Shoe designer Karen Kell (KK) issued a “cease and desist” letter through her lawyers today to national retailer Urban Outfitters (UO) accusing them of stealing her latest shoe design. The letter demands that UO immediately pull the shoes off the shelf or face litigation. A copy of the letter accompanies this press release.

KK first developed the design for the shoe in April 2011 and has been marketing it ever since through the Etsy website as well as her own website. She claims that UO then put out its own replica version of the shoe in March 2012. The shoes are shown below:

Urban Outfitters “Multi-Loop Shoe:

The Karen Kell Collection Candy Link Shoe:

Oscar Michelen, who is representing The Karen Kell Collection, states “It’s a clear and wholesale copying of Ms. Kell’s trademarked design. We are confident that a court will agree with our position should litigation become necessary.”

The letter states that the timing of UO’s misappropriation of KK’s design was particularly damaging because KK is currently in factory production of the shoe, which was previously made exclusively by hand. Additionally, KK’s shoe was featured on The Martha Stewart Show on April 26, 2012. The shoes have gained tremendous popularity which KK may not now be able to capitalize upon, according to her lawyer.

Ms Kell, who sells some of her other products through UO’s Free People line, adds, “It’s incredibly frustrating to have put all this time, effort and energy into a creative design which became a signature mark of my shoe, only to have Urban Outfitters release a blatant copy of it just as I am about to expand the sale of the shoe on a much bigger level. I’d like to see them explain how and when they came up with this design when I created it over a year ago. Urban Outfitters totally broke the trust I had developed with them.”

The letter sets May 18, 2012 at 4PM as the deadline for UO to comply with the demands contained in the letter. It threatens litigation in Federal District Court if UP fails to comply.

Mr. Michelen can be reached through his law firm, Cuomo LLC, based in New York at 212-448-9393 or via email at


About Karen Kell:

4 years ago Karen Kell had an idea to make leather shoes and accessories so she moved to Mexico where she discovered a love of vegetable tan leather. She set up a workshop and experimented with molding and carving into leather making beautiful hand crafted shoes, bags, accessories and clothing. She now has her workshop in Los Angeles, California and sells her products as Karen Kell Collection. Her products can be seen on

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