The Importance of the Intellectual Property: from Wine to Shoes

Author: Inga Lukauskiene, Associated Partner, Attorney-at-Law, Patent Attorney at METIDA

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.37.50The innovative Italian footwear manufacturer GEOX is best known for their breathable and water resistant sole. However, apart from this patented invention, which has brought fame to GEOX, the company has at least 50 different national and international patents, which provide protection for materials, goods, processes, equipment and production machines. A lot of attention is also paid to the company’s trademarks, including the main GEOX trademark, which is registered internationally in many countries.

This broad protection has been chosen for obvious reasons, indeed although GEOX is an Italian trademark, the Company’s goods are produced outside Italy and are traded in more than 103 countries worldwide.

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However, the way this company started may turn out to be a surprise for many. In 1989 the founder of GEOX Mario Moretti Polegato’s took a business trip to Reno city near Nevada desert where a trade fair was hosted. This trip could be held as the starting point of the company’s establishment. At the exhibition M. M. Polegato was advertising his family’s wine business. Hot climate became the reason for the invention of a breathable shoe sole. Indeed, M. M. Polegato could not take his heating feet anymore, thus he stabbed his sneaker soles with a knife in order to let the moisture out.

He progressed with this idea further in Italy in his family owned small shoe workshop. By experimenting M. M. Polegato managed to refine his idea. He developed a membrane, which is made up of millions of micro pores, through which water cannot penetrate to the interior of the shoe, yet vapor, that later condenses into moisture inside the shoe, can. This membrane is fitted between the shoe sole and the insole. The first step after this invention was its patenting.

Yet, M. M. Polegato did not constrict himself only with this invention. Technology was further developed in order to prevent competitors from copying the goods after the patent expires. GEOX keeps adapting new innovative ideas in production while trying to protect their goods and their IP objects.

Therefore, one of the main reasons for company’s GEOX trademark success is probably the patented invention. In fact, M. M. Polegato confirms this with his own words „It is time to invest in ideas. The idea is worth more than a factory“.

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