Converse Sues Over Chuck Taylor Knock-Offs

The Boston Globe reports that Converse Inc. has filed federal trademark infringement lawsuits against thirty-one different retailers, including Walmart, Kmart, and Sketchers, claiming that the defendant retailers are selling unauthorized knock-off versions of its ubiquitous Converse All Star shoe, commonly referred to as “Chuck Taylors.”  The iconic shoe design dates back to 1917, and Converse claims to have sold more than one billion pairs.  Due to the enduring popularity and distinctive appearance of Chuck Taylors, many rival companies have produced and sold similar-looking shoes over the years.  Converse has responded by taking steps to protect and defend its rights in the design, and has secured federal trade dress registration of numerous aspects of the shoes’ appearance, including the toe cap, toe bumper, heel bumper, side stripes, circular “All Star” logo, grommets, and sole of the shoe.  According to CEO Jim Calhoun, the competitors “have chosen to ignore our common law rights and registered trademark rights to capitalize on our brand.”  Given the vast size of the market, the parties on both sides of this dispute have ample incentive to defend their perceived share.  Read the full article here.

Reposted from the Boston Globe.