Vans is the Latest to Sue Walmart for Ripping Off Footwear
Filed Monday, the skate brand’s complaint accuses the mega-retailer of selling more than 20 “blatant knockoff versions of Vans shoes.” The lawsuit, which also named The Doll Maker, LLC and Trendy Trading, LLC, alleged trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin.
The suit follows similar litigation from multiple major footwear players. In July, Crocs sued Walmart—and a range of other retailers, including Loeffler Randall and Hobby Lobby—for trademark infringement and unfair competition, among other things. In June, Yeezy, the popular footwear brand run by Ye—the Grammy-winning artist commonly known as Kanye West—filed an unfair competition complaint against Walmart for hosting a “cheap knock-off” of its popular Foam Runner clog. Last fall, Ugg accused the retailer of trade dress
infringement and unfair competition for selling footwear it alleged was “confusingly similar” to its own Fluff Yeah slides.
Vans’ complaint included images of 19 of its own sneakers alongside images of the alleged “knockoff” shoes sold by Walmart via its in-house Time and Tru, Wonder Nation and No Boundaries labels. The suit also highlighted several styles sold by Walmart from third-party footwear designer, manufacturer, distributor and seller The Doll Maker. According to Vans, Trendy Trading—the third and last entity named in the complaint—sells or has sold these shoes to Walmart and other retailers.
“We respect intellectual property rights of others and take these allegations seriously,” a Walmart spokesperson said. “We will review the complaint once we have been served with it and will respond as appropriate with the court.”
Vans said it discovered Walmart’s “ㅁmisappropriation” in March in connection with a single Time and Tru style and “immediately” reached out with a cease and desist letter. According to the lawsuit, Walmart refused to address Vans concerns and instead “introduced an avalanche of additional knockoff shoes” in the months after.