© Tecnica Group S.p.A.

In 1969 the designer Giancarlo Zanatta created his famous Moon Boots. The boots are much-loved as après-ski footwear. He was inspired by the heavily padded shoes worn by American astronaut Neil Armstrong when he first set foot on the moon. On 25 January 2021, a court in Milan confirmed that Zanatta’s Moon Boots are “a work of art to be protected” (judgement no. 491/21). The judge determined that Moon Boots “are a work of industrial design, and as such, a creation to be protected under copyright law (article 2, no. 10, paragraph 1 of law no. 633 of 22 April 1941)”. The judgement followed a multi-year legal battle based on an initial claim by Tecnica Group, the company that owns Moon Boots, that alleged counterfeiting, unlawful profiting and unfair competition by a manufacturer who produced a cheaper version of the boots on behalf of a third party, and in doing so infringed on a number of trademark rights.

The court has now determined that Moon Boots are a product that, compared to other everyday items, “stands out due to its role in the evolution and development of the tastes of an entire historical era” and should consequently be protected from being copied. For the same reason, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 2018 included Moon Boots in a small group of products – including Castiglioni’s Arco lights, the @ symbol and works by Le Corbusier – that represent examples of how innovative design can produce iconic objects that reshape the everyday. Similarly, Moon Boots were included in an exhibition of 100 iconic designs of the 20th century at the Louvre in Paris in the year 2000.

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