Vans is suing Primark for selling 'copies' of its iconic skateboard trainers

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Vans and its parent company VF Corp are suing Primark for allegedly copying the design of two of their skateboard trainers.

The footwear brand claims that the fast-fashion retailer has been selling "identical knock-offs" in the U.K. since 2017, WWD reports.

Although Vans thought the issue had been settled last January after it asked Primark to stop selling the products, the American trainer manufacturer later discovered that the footwear was on sale in Primark in the U.S.

Photo credit: Vans
Photo credit: Vans

A lawsuit alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising was filed in New York last month.

The two designs in dispute are the Vans Old Skool sneaker, featuring the iconic side stripe, and the Vans Sk8-Hi sneaker, a lace-up high top also with the classic stripe. The court documents state that Primark's use of a side stripe on its trainers is confusing to the consumer.

"The Side Stripe Trademark’s prominent placement and often-contrasted colour make Vans’ shoes immediately recognisable to consumers even at far-off distances,” say the documents.

"The infringing products are calculated and intentional knock-offs of Vans’ footwear products, and have been designed to confuse the purchasing public."

The lawsuit also references the names used by Primark and highlights that some customers have been calling Primark's trainers as "fake Vans" on social media.

"'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," state the documents.

A representative for Primark told WWD that the company disagrees with the allegations and that they plan to "defend" their decision.

Cosmopolitan has contacted Primark for comment.

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