Vans sues Primark over sneaker design

Worldwide
Published:  14 January, 2019

The California based casual and sports footwear brand claims the Irish fast-fashion retailer has copied two of its iconic skateboard sneakers.

The lawsuit, recently filed by Vans and parent company VF Corp at a New York court, alleges that Primark has copied two of Vans’ Old Skool skateboard sneakers, infringing unfair competition and false advertising. The documents refer the Vans Old Skool and the Vans Sk8-Hi range, which both feature the brand’s trademark side stripe and waffle-patterned bottom. Primark would be selling these ‘copies’ about five to six times cheaper than the original.

Allegedly, Vans claims that Primark’s choice of name for its products is evidence of stealing; ‘Skater low tops’ and ‘Skater high tops’ suggest a connection with Vans’ products. Vans also says that a large number of customers have started calling Primark’s trainers “fake Vans” on social media. 

Primark is said to have released the shoes in 2017, which are no longer available in Europe but is still being sold in the U.S.. According to the lawsuit, Vans became aware of the similar styles about two years ago and had, allegedly, settled the matter privately with Primark.

The Irish retailer refutes the allegations and says it plans to defend its position.