Converse Sues Steve Madden Over Run Star Hike Sneaker

Converse Inc. is taking Steven Madden Ltd. to court. In a suit filed on Friday in Massachusetts District Court, Converse accuses Madden of infringing upon its patented Run Star Hiker sneaker design.

Converse is a leading producer of original sneaker designs. One of its unique designs is the Run Star Hike. Steve Madden also sells sneakers, but instead of innovating its own designs, it often copies others,” the filing reads. “Steve Madden recently started selling sneakers that copy Converse’s unique Run Star Hike design.”

The Run Star Hiker silhouette debuted in September 2018 on the runway at London Fashion Week and was made available for U.S. sale in February 2019. Converse holds two patents for the style — which it says is “integral to Converse’s success moving forward.”

According to Converse, Steve Madden has released multiple shoes that infringe upon its patents, including the Madden Girl Winnona Flatform High-Top, as well as the Steve Madden Shark sneaker.

Converse said it has sent multiple requests to Steve Madden since March demanding that the brand “immediately stop infringing” but that Madden has declined. Converse is asking for monetary damages as well as for an order barring Madden from further alleged infringement of its Run Star Hiker patents.

Over the years, Steve Madden has been involved in a number of legal disputes over alleged infringement. A decade ago, British fashion brand Alexander McQueen filed a trade dress suit alleging that its Faithful boots were being copied by Madden’s Seryna boots. (The two later settled out of court.)

That same year, Balenciaga filed a complaint against Madden over its lookalike Lego-inspired sandals; the French house received a payment of an undisclosed sum from the fast-fashion giant. Further, in 2017, eco-friendly label Allbirds accused Steve Madden of copying the design of its signature wool lace-up sneaker. In 2018, Alice + Olivia filed a suit against the Steve Madden-owned Betsey Johnson label for copyright and trademark infringement, alleging that Betsey Johnson used its signature face, the “StaceFace” on its handbags.

More recently, in May 2019, Madden and Yves Saint Laurent settled a dispute out of court after YSL accused Madden of knocking off its Tribute platform sandal. Madden is currently involved in suits against Ugg parent Deckers Outdoor Corp. as well as Rothy’s. In August 2019, Madden hit Rothy’s with a suit after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the sustainable shoe brand. Deckers filed a suit last month claiming that Madden ripped off its best-selling Ugg Fluff Yeah sandal.

Representatives from Converse and Steve Madden did not immediately respond to FN’s request for comment.

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