Converse's Chuck Taylor trademark lawsuit hits rocky ground

today Jun 11, 2018
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Converse has been asked by a federal court to provide more information to support the defense of its Chuck Taylor trademarks as the Nike-owned company continues its legal battle against Skechers, Walmart and New Balance.

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The court has asked all parties to answer three questions. The first question asks the parties for a timeline, essentially trying to establish whether Converse's Chuck Taylors had already reached icon status before the other companies began copying the design. The second question appears to be the most troublesome in Converse's case, with the court wanting to know "what significance does the registration of the mark or its validity have in these proceedings?"

The final question the court wants answered is whether it was necessary for the International Trade Commission (ITC) to address the mark's validity in its earlier decision.

The questions stem from a previous episode when Converse appealed a 2016 ruling where the ITC found that defendants Skechers, Walmart and New Balance did not violate trademarks that became synonymous with the brand's iconic Chuck Taylor shoe.

The trademarks in question protect the Chuck Taylor toe cap, the outsole, and the rubber toe bumper.

The case is particularly important to American fashion law because Chuck Taylors are essentially synonymous with Converse. Losing ownership of the rights to the model would be a damaging blow to the brand, as the valuable propriety design is an important part of its heritage.

Although certain brands, including Ralph Lauren and H&M, settled in previous stages of the lawsuit, Walmart, Skechers and New Balance have enough assets to continue to battle it out in court.

The court has ordered Converse, Walmart, Skechers and New Balance to all file their briefs by June 27, 2018.

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