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New Balance files complaint against Converse

Jan 28, 2015 United States
New Balance files complaint against Converse
This complaint follows previous action from rival Converse, against several brands and companies
By the end of 2014, Converse announced it was suing 31 brands and companies, including Skechers, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Zulily, Aldo Group, Fila, H&M, Highline United’s Ash brand Kitson, and Iconix’s Ed Hardy brand, arguing copyright infringement on its iconic Chuck Taylor design.

The complaint relates to New Balance’s PF Flyers brand, which it acquired in 2001. The shoe’s style is similar to the Converse Chuck Taylor. At the time this was seen as a strategic move to try to get copycats off of shelves and to protect their famous canvas sneaker against “ trademark infringement”.

Now, New Balance is suing the Nike-owned company to allegedly protect its PF Flyers brand from aggressive trademark claims made by Converse. The trademark claim, would affect PF Flyers' signature sneakers. Its silhouette shares some of the design properties of the Chuck Taylor. New Balance is seeking a "declaration of non-infringement" from the court and their lawyers, who are seeking to have court protection for the brand from an overly broad trademark claim by Converse, want the court to issue a "declaration of non-infringement."

The company also asked the court to cancel Converse’s trademark registration for shoe styles that include a toe bumper, toe cap and striped midsole, according to the complaint.

Image credits: New Balance; Converse

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