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Vans Sues Walmart, Alleges Sneaker Copycats

VF Corp.-owned Vans is suing Walmart for allegedly infringing on its sneaker designs.

In a complaint filed Monday in a California federal court, Vans claims that Walmart is selling over 20 shoes that infringe on the skate brand’s property rights. The suit accuses Walmart of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin.

According to the suit, Walmart has “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 alleges 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.”

In a statement to FN, a Walmart spokesperson said the company will respond after reviewing the complaint.

“We respect intellectual property rights of others and take these allegations seriously,” Walmart said FN in a statement. Vans declined to comment.

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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