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News blog28 April 20222 min read

Vans sues “Wavy Baby” shoes and Louboutin tries to protect its red sole in Japan



Vans has filed a lawsuit before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, against MSCHF, over the latter’s “Wavy Baby” sneakers.

Vans claims that MSCHF has created the “Wavy Baby” sneakers based on elements that are inherent to Vans’ OLD SKOOL shoes.

As a consequence, Vans argues that MSCHF is infringing its trade mark and trade dress rights, hence is taking advantage of its reputation.

According to Vans, the OLD SKOOL Trade Dress includes elements that make their sneakers distinctive: “(1) the Vans Side Stripe Mark on the shoe upper; (2) a rubberized sidewall with a consistent height around the perimeter of the shoe; (3) the uppermost portion of the sidewall having a three-tiered or grooved appearance; (4) a textured toe box outer around the front of the sidewall; (5) visible stitching, including where the eye stay meets the vamp; and (6) the placement and proportion of these elements in relation to one another.”

From its side, the Wavy Baby incorporates some of the distinctive elements of the OLD SKOOL sneakers, like the shape and location of the side stripe mark, the iconic black shoe with white side stripe mark, on the shoe upper, and the iconic red and white square placed on the back of the shoes.

As stated by Vans in the lawsuit, the combination of these elements on the “Wavy Baby” shoes can be considered as an infringement of its trade mark and trade dress rights over the OLD SKOOL model. This leads to a likelihood of confusion among the consumers, as they could believe that the “Wavy Baby” shoes have some sort of commercial relation with Vans.

We will inform you of the outcome of this trial!



Another chapter in Christian Louboutin’s red sole saga was written by a Tokyo court, in a decision rendered a few weeks ago.

Louboutin had sued a Japanese shoes company that was allegedly infringing its red sole trade mark. However, it is important to highlight that while the red sole trade mark was registered in the US, it is not registered yet in Japan, since the trade mark application was refused in the examination stage, and therefore a decision from the Appeal Stage is still pending.

As a consequence, Louboutin could not rely on trade mark infringement and therefore, sued the Japanese company on grounds of Unfair Competition Law.

This proved insufficient. Indeed, while Louboutin’s red sole heels have been commercialised on the Japanese market for 20 years, it was noted that they were not the only red sole shoes with presence on that market. For this reason, the Tokyo District Court considered that consumers would not necessarily associate the red sole with Louboutin. Accordingly, it dismissed Louboutin’s unfair competition case.


Publication date
28 April 2022