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News blog9 June 2020Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises3 min read

Converse against Steve Madden for copying one of its Converse design, a battle between a US start-up and Nestlé over a vegan burger

Good morning everyone and happy Tuesday. We hope everyone is doing ok and enjoying the warmer weather.


Converse vs. Steve Madden

Converse has filed a complaint against Steve Madden based on an alleged design infringement of its Run Star Hike design.



The model on the left is from Converse, the one on the right from Steve Madden

According to Converse, despite that they sent Madden multiple cease and desist letters, Madden has refused to remove its sneakers from the market. Converse is now seeking monetary damages as well as a court order to stop the infringement.


Impossible Food vs. Nestlé

For those familiar with the US market and with vegan brands, the “Impossible burger” is something that you are not unfamiliar with. For those who don’t know the impossible burger, it is a brand launched in 2016 by Impossible Foods, a company that seeks to create a product that imitates perfectly the taste of meat-based products without the environmental and health impact that meat has. One of their most emblematic product is the impossible burger that imitates the original burger patty but plant-based.


Nestlé saw an opportunity and instead of pursuing the negotiations to secure a licence for the impossible burger (negotiations started in 2018), the company decided to launch its own “incredible burger”. Now, Impossible Foods has filed for trade mark infringement in the EU alleging that this would confuse consumer who might think that the incredible burger is the European version of the impossible burger and from the same producer.


The District Court of Hague sided with Impossible Food. According to a preliminary ruling, Nestlé was considered to infringe the Impossible Burger trade mark, registered before the EUIPO in 2019, by calling its product the “incredible burger”. Indeed, according to the court “impossible” and “incredible” sound and appear similar, which would confuse consumers as to the origin of the good.


The US start-up is now waiting for approval from the European food safety regulators to launch its products in Europe.


The bodysuit infringement

Kardashian and Good American have been accused of trade dress infringement and unfair competition by a small indie designer called Destiney Bleu Lewis (DBL). According to DBL, back in 2016/2017, Kardashian purchased and borrowed many of the bodysuits designed by DBL allegedly for Kardashian’s use. Apparently, instead of wearing the bodysuits Kardashian and Good American copied the designs. When in 2017 Kardashian launched Good American and the line of bodysuits that looked similar to those of DBL (black and nude bodysuits embellished with crystals), DBL realized that the pieces they had been sending to Kardashian were not used as agreed.


As mentioned in other articles, trade dress in the US provides protection for the overall image of a product (colour, shape, size…) as long as the features of the product or its design performs the same function as a trade mark (identifying its origin). According to DBL, its trade dress right here is “the unique design and careful placement of crystal rhinestones on intimate garments made of form-fitting materials with a sheer and semi-opaque look”.


DBL is now seeking to stop the infringement and is also seeking monetary damages. We will keep you updated!


Michael Kors protecting his “iconic” watches  

Michael Kors and his official licensee – Fossil – claim that an Amazon seller identified by his handler (Angel Seller) has been consistently infringing upon Michael Kors’ trade mark by selling counterfeit of its watches through Amazon. By selling these counterfeits, consumers are confused as to the origin of the product and, more often than not, are disappointed when receiving a watch that does not match the quality expectations. This also affects the goodwill of both companies. Michael Kors is now seeking monetary damages and for the offering and selling of knock-off watches to stop.


This is all for this week! We wish you a very nice week. Be safe and healthy!


Publication date
9 June 2020
Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises