The California-based footwear manufacturer Vans has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Target Corporation according to recent media reports. Vans claims that the retail giant’s Camella sneaker copies design elements of their iconic Old Skool shoe introduced in 1977. Court documents reveal that Vans believes the Old Skool design was deliberately copied by Target to improve the market profile of its Wild Fable line or merchandise, of which the Camella sneaker is a part.
Vans alleges in its lawsuit that the similarity of the two sneaker designs could confuse consumers and hurt sales of its far more expensive shoes, and consumer comments appear to back up these claims. Several online reviews of the Camella sneaker mention its similarity to the Old Skool design, and one consumer even referred to the Camella shoes as ‘fake Vans.” Target sells the Camella shoe for $15 while a pair of Vans Old Skool sneakers cost $60.
In addition to seeking damages and compensation for its legal fees, Vans wants Target to stop using the Camella design immediately and pull the shoes from their stores. Vans is also asking the court to order Target to destroy all marketing materials bearing images of the allegedly trademark-infringing shoes.
Attorneys with trademark infringement litigation experience may check consumer reviews or online forum comments when consumer products may be using valuable intellectual property without permission. This is because these cases often hinge on whether or not the similarity between the designs involved would be confusing to consumers. When these searches reveal that consumers purchased a product largely because it looked similar to a far more expensive product, attorneys could use this evidence to urge infringers to avoid prolonged legal battles that they would likely lose by settling lawsuits quickly and quietly.