Vans wins temporary ban on sales of Walmart’s ‘knockoff’ sneakers

Vans Inc has convinced a California federal court to block sales of Walmart Inc shoes that allegedly copy its designs during the duration of their trademark infringement litigation.

A federal judge said in an opinion made public Friday that Vans was likely to win on its trademark claims against the retail giant and would be irreparably harmed without the sales ban.

Costa Mesa, California-based Vans’ shoes first gained fame in the 1970s among skateboarders in southern California, and it has since become a massively popular global brand.

Vans sued Walmart in November, arguing Walmart had engaged in a concerted effort to rip off “virtually all” of Vans’ best-selling sneakers.

The Walmart shoes cost less than $20 and are “cheap, poorly made, and confusingly similar” to $60 Vans, according to the lawsuit. Vans also said Walmart is aware that affiliates it pays to review its shoes online promote them as cheaper “dupes” or “knockoffs.”

Walmart countered Vans’ request for the ban in January, arguing that Vans’ designs were ineligible for trademark protection and it could not prove Walmart’s shoes were likely to cause customer confusion. Walmart also said Vans could not show the “irreparable harm” necessary for an early block on its sales.

“There was no urgency precipitating this motion,” Walmart argued. “Vans filed the motion at least 18 months after Walmart began selling accused shoes.”

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