Legendary shoe company Converse has decided to sue 31 retailers for trademark infringement and unfair competition.
The Nike-owned company filed lawsuits Tuesday October 14 against numerous big-time apparel companies—including H&M, Ralph Lauren, Kmart, Skechers, and Walmart—for manufacturing and selling copycat All Star Chuck Taylor designs.
The iconic American shoe has experienced a lifespan of over nine decades while mainly targeting the interest of basketball athletes, nonconformists, hippies, rockers, and pop culture enthusiasts.
The black and white rubber-toed ankle-top sneaker found its way onto the feet of many in the 1950s. During this time, Converse decided to transition from athletic to everyday footwear through the testing of new styles and various fashion techniques. From the 60s onward, Converse made appearances on many media platforms like the 1978 hit musical film “Grease.” It wasn’t until the 1980s that the star-logo embroidered shoe became an all-time household name.
As its popularity grew, so did its imitators.
“For generations, the Chuck Taylor, universally known as the ‘Chuck,’ has captured the hearts and minds of millions of consumers, selling over a billion pairs globally during the past century,” said President and Chief Executive Jim Calhoun in a statement to the Huffington Post.
While Converse appreciates competition from all angles in the shoe industry, this is one issue that needs to be brought to an end.
Over the last few years, the shoe production company has kindly asked several companies to stop the production of their copied shoes. Now Converse’s patience has run out.
For the company, Chuck Taylor knockoffs have always negatively affected the sales of the famous shoe, creating confusion and fickleness among shoe shoppers or loyal Converse fans.
The company didn’t really see its sales drop until 2008 when imitation brands were becoming out of control, which they say have caused them “substantial and irreparable injury.”
Yet, this is not the first time Converse has gone through financial woes.
America’s favorite shoe started to go through difficult times in the 1990s.
After it filed bankruptcy in 2001, Nike later picked up the failing brand in 2003. Converse’s revenue sales have slowly improved within the last 11 years. In 2002, the company’s annual revenue sales increased from $205 million to $1.4 billion in 2013.
The only fair competition that Converse faces right now is mainstream sneaker companies like Vans and Keds. Although similar rivals market their shoes for a much lower price, Converse continues to survive in the sneaker industry.
The company has filed 22 separate lawsuit cases with the International Trade Commission and U.S. district court in New York. It plans to ask the companies at fault to terminate the selling and shelving of all fake Chuck Taylors.