One of the most popular shoe brands among the young adult population is now suing 31 companies for making a knock-off version of the footwear. That’s right, converse (or Chuck Taylors) are suing companies like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Sketchers in a fight to get these brands off the shelves.
Converse first started making the ever-popular shoe in 1917, being introduced to star basketball players (hence the ‘All-Star’). In 1920, the company joined with basketball player, and then spokesman for the shoe, Chuck Taylor.
The shoe became even more popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s, when people began wearing them as a fashion statement over an athletic shoe. You can even see the shoes being worn in popular movies by actors such as John Travolta in Grease, and Sylvester Stallone in Rocky.
The New York Times reports:
“Now Converse, the century-old American footwear maker, says some of the core elements of its widely recognizable Chuck Taylor sneakers — black stripes and a rubber toe topper — are being co-opted by Walmart, Kmart, Skechers and others. And it is taking them to court, accusing 31 companies of trademark infringement in 22 separate lawsuits filed Tuesday in United States District Court in Brooklyn.
But while Converse, which has been owned by Nike since 2003, is suing for monetary damages, its main priority is getting impostors off the shelves. To that end, the company is pursuing a separate complaint with the International Trade Commission, which has the power to stop any shoes considered to be counterfeit from entering the country.
“The goal really is to stop this action,” said Jim Calhoun, the Converse chief executive. “I think we’re quite fortunate here to be in the possession of what we would consider to be an American icon.”
Converse then hit a low point in the 1990’s, almost filing for bankruptcy when the brand took a huge leap in the right direction by joining with Nike company. Nike was able to take converse to a whole new level after buying the company in 2003.
The New York Times reports that the Converse brand makes up about $1.7 billion of Nike’s $28 billion in sales on average per year. Not to bad!
It’s safe to say that almost everybody in this generation owns a pair of the all-American sneaker, even if they’re tucked away deep in your closet. The shoe has become an icon for the American teen, sporting a more rebellion and relaxed style.
Personally, I have two pairs of Converse that I absolutely could not live without. And yes, they are the real All-Star Converse brand.
So, it will be interesting to see how this case turns out, and if we will no longer be seeing the ‘knock-offs’ on the shelves at different retail stores.
Let me know what you think about this case or how the outcome should be!