Vans Sued For Use of ‘Rad’ Logo

Iconic Shoes
Vans classic checkered slip-on sneakers.
Courtesy of brand.

Schwartzman Pictures Inc. wants its “Rad” back. The Los Angeles-based film production company filed suit against Vans Inc. over the unlicensed use of its trademarked “Rad” logo from the 1986 film of the same name.

For those not familiar with the cult favorite, the flick follows BMX-er Cru Jones as he tries his hands — and feet — at some serious stunts on the Helltrack. Hal Needham directed the film.

The logo associated with the film — depicting the stylized word “Rad” with an underline — was trademarked by Schwartzman Pictures in 1987. (At the time, the production company was owned by the late Jack Schwartzman, the father of actor Jason Schwartzman.)

The firm’s lawsuit against Vans, filed in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California last week, argues that in 2012, Schwartzman Pictures discovered the misappropriation of the trademark on a Vans shoe. After approaching the sneaker brand to negotiate a licensing agreement, no resolution was reached and Vans continued to use the trademark.

The complaint states, “Defendants … willfully selected, adopted and/or used the ‘Rad’ mark … with the intent to confuse, mislead and deceive the public into believing the infringing clothing products and accessories are associated with … SPI.”

Vans’ roots as a skate brand have made it popular with the BMX crowd, which it markets to with such brand ambassadors as Gary Young and Dakota Roche. While Vans declined to add anything about the “Rad” controversy, saying the company doesn’t “comment on pending litigations,” the collection in question first debuted in 2007. You can see images of the shoes here.

Schwartzman Pictures is asking the court to permanently prevent Vans from using the logo and pay for damages.