Converse’s iconic Chuck Taylor sneakers have been a wardrobe staple for generations of Americans. (Our Senior Editor alone owns more than five pairs, and our Creative Director wears them everyday.) Now the century-old shoemaker is suing 31 companies of trademark infringement in 22 separate lawsuits filed Tuesday in the United States District Court in Brooklyn, NY.
Converse says some of the instantly recognizable elements of its kicks (namely thin black stripes and a rubber toe cap and bumper) are being knocked off by the likes of Walmart, Kmart, Skechers, Fila and more. While the Nike-owned company is suing for monetary damages, it has told The New York Times that its main priority is getting imposters off the shelves. The real deal retails for $50, whereas the Skechers version goes for $40 and Walmart’s take on the Chuck is just $12.95. That’s why Converse is pursuing a separate complaint with the International Trade Commission, which has the power to stop any shoes considered to be counterfeit from entering the country. “I think we’re quite fortunate here to be in the possession of what we would consider to be an American icon,” said CEO Jim Calhoun. “We continue to see sort of an explosion, if you will, an increase in knockoff activity. Cease-and-desist letters aren’t enough.”