Walmart and Vans Settle Lawsuit Concerning Copycat Shoes

Vans has settled its lawsuit with Walmart that accused the big-box retailer of copying its shoe designs.

Both companies alerted the court in the central district in California on Wednesday that they came to an agreement regarding a permanent injunction that will prohibit Walmart from continuing to sell the shoes in question.

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FN reached out to Walmart for a comment regarding this update. Vans declined to comment

Vans initially sued Walmart in November 2021 for allegedly selling over 20 pairs of shoes that infringed on its property rights. A federal judge eventually issued a preliminary injunction and said that Vans would likely be issued a win in its case against Walmart and that the company would “suffer irreparable harm” without an injunction.

The initial complaint accused Walmart of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin. According to the suit, Walmart “flooded the market with cheap, low-quality, and confusingly similar shoes that harm Vans’ goodwill and reputation.” Vans pointed to examples of Walmart sneaker designs that closely resemble products from Vans, including the SK8-HI and Old Skool shoes.

Vans also alleged that Walmart was aware that members of its affiliate program, which pays people to review and advertise products, openly referred to Walmart’s shoes as “dupes” or “knockoffs” of Vans that could be acquired for less money. The products in question sold at Walmart for less than $20.

“The scope of Walmart’s infringement cannot be overstated,” read the suit, which described the situation as “a concerted, systematic, and escalating campaign to rip off Vans’ shoes in broad-brush fashion.”

In July of 2022, Vans accused Walmart of continuing to sell the infringing shoes despite the injunction and accused the retailer of “doubling down on its counterfeiting scheme by introducing a new model of shoe that closely mimics Vans’ protected Side Stripe Mark and trade dress.”

A Walmart spokesperson at the time said the company “took appropriate action and removed the inventory in question” when it was told to do so.

Other brands have previously accused Walmart of selling products that infringe on their own designs. Deckers in January filed a lawsuit against Walmart, claiming the retailer infringed on designs for its Ugg, Hoka and Teva brands. And in September of 2022, Crocs settled a trademark infringement lawsuit against Walmart.

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