Tuesday 21 May 2019

Footwear company Vans suing Primark for 'intentional knock-offs' of signature shoe styles

Vans Women's Collection
Vans Women's Collection

Independent Style Desk

Footwear brand Vans is suing Penneys, which operates globally under Primark, for selling what they say are "intentional knock-offs" of one of its signature designs.

Primark released the new shoe style in 2017 and while it's no longer available in Europe, it is being sold in the US, where the company continues an aggressive expansion plan along the east coast. According to the lawsuit, as first reported in WWD, Vans became aware of the similar styles on shelves two years ago and after contacting the company, the matter was settled privately and the styles were removed from sale.

However, the availability of the designs in the US market prompted formal legal proceedings, which were filed in federal court in New York last month. They refer to two types of Vans sneakers, the Old Skool and the Sk8-Hi shoe, both of which feature the signature side stripe on the white sole and a waffle patterned base.

“The Side Stripe Trademark’s prominent placement and often-contrasted color make Vans’ shoes immediately recognizable to consumers even at far-off distances,” the court documents state.

“The infringing products are calculated and intentional knock-offs of Vans’ footwear products,” the court documents continue. “And have been designed to confuse the purchasing public. Primark has even gone so far as to name its infringing products the ‘Skater low tops’ and ‘Skater high tops’ in a blatant attempt to suggest a connection with Vans’ products that bear the Vans trademarks and trade dress, including the Vans’ Old Skool Shoe and Sk8-Hi Shoe."

The documents features a side by side comparison of both styles as released by Vans and Primark. 

A representative for the company said they disagree with the allegations and "we plan to defend our position".

Online Editors

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