Nike loses case against Skechers over Converse Chuck Taylor trademark
today Oct 21, 2019
Skechers has added another mark to its scorecard in its ongoing feud with sportswear giant Nike, as a judge has ruled in the California-based footwear company’s favor in a case concerning the Chuck Taylor midsole trademark used by Nike’s Converse brand.
Skechers announced on Thursday that the Honorable Charles E. Bullock, chief administrative law judge of the International Trade Commission (ITC), has determined that Converse’s Chuck Taylor midsole trademark is not violated by the Skechers’ Twinkle Toes and Bobs lines, or by any of the other products cited by Nike’s case.
Judge Bullock also determined that the midsole trademark does not apply to Skechers, as it had not acquired its secondary meaning in 2001, when Skechers began using its own designs.
Nike’s case against Skechers dates back to 2014 and, aside from Twinkle Toes and Bobs, also targets the Daddy'$ Money and Hydee Hy-top lines.
This latest ruling marks Skechers’ third victory in the case, following previous wins in November 2015 and June 2016.
After the ITC’s 2016 ruling – which found that Converse’s trademarks rights in the Chuck Taylor midsole design are invalid and that, even had they been valid, neither Twinkle Toes nor Bobs would infringe them – Converse appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which remanded the case back to the ITC in October 2018.
“We are pleased that Judge Bullock recognized that Skechers has been using these designs long before Converse acquired any trademark rights in them,” said Skechers President Michael Greenberg in a release. “We are also pleased that multiple decisions repeatedly recognized that the Twinkle Toes and Bobs from Skechers designs are distinctively different from the Chuck Taylor design, and that there is no likelihood that consumers would ever confuse either Twinkle Toes or Bobs products with the Converse design.”
The U.S. footwear rivals have a wider history of legal disputes outside of this particular case, with a recent filing from Nike alleging not only that Skechers has copied elements of its VaporMax and Air Max 270 shoes, but also that the company uses a deliberate “copying strategy” known as “Skecherizing” to adapt designs from its competitors.
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