Vans Accuses Walmart of Continuing to Sell Footwear Similar to Vans Shoes Amid Lawsuit
Friday, July 29, 2022
by: Footwear News

Section: Member News




Black canvas sneakers with white line detail
Old Skool Vans from Vans.com
CREDIT: COURTESY OF VANS
 

VF Corp.-owned Vans is accusing Walmart of violating an order to stop selling certain models of shoes after the footwear brand won a preliminary win in its lawsuit against the big-box retailer.

A federal judge in April blocked Walmart from continuing to sell certain shoes that are “confusingly similar” to Vans’ registered trademarks and protectable trade dress during the duration of the litigation between both parties. The opinion represented the use of a preliminary injunction, which is meant to help prevent a party in a lawsuit from suffering irreparable harm if no injunction is issued during litigation.

Vans sued Walmart in November for selling over 20 pairs of shoes that infringed on its property rights. In issuing the preliminary injunction, a federal judge said that Vans would likely be issued a win in its case against Walmart and that the company would “suffer irreparable harm” without an injunction.

In a motion filed Friday, Vans accused Walmart of continuing to sell the infringing shoes and accused the retailer of “doubling down on its counterfeiting scheme by introducing a new model of shoe that closely mimics Vans’ protected Side Stripe Mark and trade dress.”

A Walmart spokesperson said the company “took appropriate action and removed the inventory in question” when it was told to do so.

“We are contesting Van’s motion and will continue to defend the company against this litigation,” the Walmart spokesperson said. Vans did not return a request for comment on its recent filing.

The initial complaint, filed in November in a California federal court, accused Walmart of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin. According to the suit, Walmart “flooded the market with cheap, low-quality, and confusingly similar shoes that harm Vans’ goodwill and reputation.” Vans pointed to examples of Walmart sneaker designs that closely resemble products from Vans, including the SK8-HI and Old Skool shoes.

Vans also alleged that Walmart is aware that members of its affiliate program, which pays people to review and advertise products, openly refer to Walmart’s shoes as “dupes” or “knockoffs” of Vans that can be acquired for less money. The products in question sell at Walmart for less than $20.

“The scope of Walmart’s infringement cannot be overstated,” read the suit, which described the situation as “a concerted, systematic, and escalating campaign to rip off Vans’ shoes in broad-brush fashion.”

Vans previously declined to comment on the initial lawsuit.

Walmart is also involved in an ongoing legal challenge with Yeezy, which filed a suit against the big-box retailer and other third-party sellers for selling shoes that look like Yeezy foam runners. Walmart also filed a notice of opposition with the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, arguing that a registration sought by West’s brand is too similar to its own spark-like logo.

Vans also sued Target in 2018 over alleged trademark infringement. The case was dismissed in 2020.

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