It's a question about an iconic Australian product that attendants at a Killarney store answer daily: "Are these real ugg boots?"
Down Under Ugg Boots retailer Paul Hutchings says the confusion arises between Australian-made products, global label Ugg Australia, and a myriad of other imported copycats.
"Once it's explained it's not a problem," Mr Hutchings said. "An ugg boot is something that is made of Victorian merino sheep skin, and 100 per cent made here. It's cut here, it's strung together here and glued here."
Deckers Outdoor Corporation, the US-based owners of trademark "ugg Australia", made headlines last week after it successfully sued a western-Sydney ugg-boot maker in a Chicago court for selling 12 pairs of boots in the US with the term "ugg".
The trademark is recognised in more than 130 countries worldwide but not Australia or New Zealand, making it difficult for Australian boot makers and retailers like Mr Hutchings to export ugg-branded products.
Mr Hutchings said he removed any "ugg boot" label from footwear he sent overseas, or he sent products with a different brand name.
"If we get an overseas order we have to explain that we are not allowed to send an Australian ugg boot with the word on it," he said.
This is despite only stocking products accredited by the Australian Sheep Skin Association, which he believes is the stamp of approval for a "real" ugg boot.
"There is an amount of restriction for a local business," he said. "If there wasn't any of this nonsense, I would be able to make 20 per cent more."
Mr Hutchings said the outcome of the case was no surprise to him with legal battles over the product's name stretching back a decade.
"If an Australian manufacturer is going to knowingly go up against Decker, then there can only be one result," he said.
Mr Hutchings said he backed calls for the Australian government to help appeal the case so businesses could sell Australian-made boots using the ugg label overseas.
"I and everybody I know in small business have no confidence that the government, whether it be Labor or Liberal, is willing to back small businesses in Australia against a US-brand."
He said the impact in Killarney was that store attendants were required to justify the products were Australian-made.
"The harm that Decker causes is that people think they're the real ones, and we're doing the counterfeit," he said.
"It does affect my business, people come from overseas and they believe ugg boots come from the US, but it feels like there's nothing I can do about it."
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