Vans is suing Primark for selling "fake Vans"

3 January 2019, 17:27

Miriam Mache wearing black Vans/Primark Vans
Vans is suing Primark for selling "fake Vans". Picture: Getty/Primark
Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

A lawsuit alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising was filed in New York, US, last month.

Vans and its parent company VF Corp are suing Primark for allegedly copying the design of two of their iconic skateboard trainers. At one point, tons of YouTubers and Influencers were excitedly posting where to find the £8 Vans knock-offs and, well, it's not worked in their favour. Vans claims that the Irish clothing giant has been selling the lookalike sneakers in the UK since the summer of 2017.

Now, Vans had asked Primark to stop selling the trainers before and thought the issue had been settled last January but the US skatewear brand later discovered that the "identical knock-offs" were on sale in Primark in the US.

The two designs behind the lawsuit are the Vans Old Skool sneaker, which we all know have the iconic side stripe, and the Vans Sk8-Hi sneaker, the high top version. Vans claims they've been using the trademarked side stripe since the 1970s. According to WWD, the court documents state that Primark's use of a side stripe design has confused shoppers.


"The Side Stripe Trademark’s prominent placement and often-contrasted colour make Vans’ shoes immediately recognisable to consumers even at far-off distances," the documents state. "The infringing products are calculated and intentional knock-offs of Vans' footwear products, and have been designed to confuse the purchasing public."

The lawsuit also cites the some customers have been calling Primark's trainers "fake Vans" on social media, which further proves their likeness. Whew, a whole mess.

The documents went on to say: "Primark has even gone so far as to name its infringing products the 'Skater low tops' and 'Skater high tops' in a blatant attempt to suggest a connection with Vans' products that bear the Vans trademarks and trade dress, including the Vans’ Old Skool Shoe and Sk8-Hi Shoe."

However, a representative for Primark told the publication that they disagree with the allegation. They said: "We plan to defend our position."