Last Fall, Converse went on a litigation spree and sued 31 brands, claiming trademark infringement. Amongst those 31 brands sued were H&M, Zulily, and Tory Burch. The shoe brand also filed an complaint with the International Trade Commission, who announced in November that it would be investigating Converse’s claims.
Converse Chuck Taylor Sneakers // via Sweet and Lonely
Converse claimed in its lawsuit, that these brands copied its iconic ‘Chuck Taylor’ sneaker, a style which has become synonymous with Americana fashion. Converse claimed that these brands infringed upon trademarks it holds for design elements of the sneaker.
It seems that three more brands have settled with Converse over the past month. H&M, Zulily, and Tory Burch have all settled with Converse. Reports state that each brand has agreed to pay damages (the amount not being disclosed to the public), to destroy all infringing products and to no longer manufacture and sell products that could infringe Converse’s trademarks.
I’m sure that as time progresses, the other 27 brands named in the lawsuits will follow suit and settle soon. However, last month, New Balance preemptively sued Converse, asking for a declaratory judgment to declare its trademarks invalid. That case is still ongoing.
If Converse is able to pull of settlements with all 31 brands, this could be a big moment for fashion law. A fashion brand settling with such a large number of brands and retailers over trademark infringement claims involving design elements could prove to be a benchmark precedent for future cases where fashion brands feel that their design elements that make them unique and different are being copied and infringed upon.