Vans take legal action against Primark over trainer design

Clothing and footwear brand Vans has taken legal action against retailer Primark for allegedly copying the design of two of its iconic trainers.

The Skateboard style footwear brand claims Primark has been selling ‘intentional copies’ of the trainers since 2017 and had thought the matter had been resolved after asking them to stop last January.

However, Vans later discovered that Primark were still selling the shoes in America and have now taken legal action that alleges trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising.

Primark has been accused of imitating two of Vans most popular trainer designs, the £55 Vans Old Skool sneaker and the £65 Vans Sk8-Hi sneaker, which both feature the classic white side stripe and waffle-patterned bottom which have both been key characteristics of the brand since the 1970s.

Vans claim that customers have even been referring to Primark’s trainers as ‘fake vans’ on social media platforms.

In the court documents, Vans said: “The Side Stripe Trademark’s prominent placement and often-contrasted colour make Vans’ shoes immediately recognisable to consumers even at far-off distances.”

They went on to call the Primark shoes ‘calculated and intentional knock-offs of Vans’ footwear products’ that were ‘designed to confuse the purchasing public.’

As well as saying Primark used the names, ’Skater low tops’ and ‘Skater high tops’ in a blatant attempt to suggest a connection with Vans’ products that bear the Vans trademarks and trade dress, including the Vans’ Old Skool Shoe and Sk8-Hi Shoe.

The high street retailer disagrees with the allegations and plans to defend their position.

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