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Vans is Suing Target, Alleging That the Retailer Copied Their Old Skool Sneaker

Vans is suing global retailer Target for allegedly knocking off their trademark Old Skool sneakers, according to a lawsuit filed by the company Thursday. The lawsuit directly names Target’s “Camella Lace-Up” shoe and aims to collect the full profit from the shoes, which have already been sold at Target in store and online.

The lawsuit, which was posted by Bloomberg News, asks for the profits from Target’s “Camella Lace-Up” shoes, and asks that the retailer stops selling them, along with any and all merchandise that resembles the Vans “side stripe.”

The reproduction of a version of Vans’s trademarked “side stripe” is the main argument in the lawsuit. The company alleges Vans has used the “side stripe” in their design since the 1970s. 

The shoes are still for sale on Target’s website. They’re labeled as women’s sneakers and retail for $15 as compared to a pair of Old Skool Vans’s price of $60 on the Vans website.

GettyImages-1021477546 A sign hangs above a Target store on August 22, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. Target is being sued by Vans for allegedly copying their signature shoe. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The lawsuit also noted Target customers called the shoes “fake Vans” on the Target website. Comments on the site reflect the cited brand confusion. “I love my fake Vans!” wrote a commenter, El Ramirez.

Other parts of the document allege Target used an opportune moment to market the “copycat” kicks, as they were released in a new apparel launch for Target’s in-house brand, Wild Fable. “Moreover, upon information and belief, Defendants’ infringement was motivated not only by the extreme popularity of Vans’ Old Skool Shoe — which is a top-selling lifestyle shoe among Defendants’ target customers of millennial and Gen-Z women — but also by a desire to misappropriate Vans’ reputation and cachet to lend unwarranted and instant credibility to Target’s Wild Fable product line upon its launch,” the lawsuit read.

Vans commented on the use of their sneakers by trendy, streetwear lovers, and claimed the same consumers are the target of the Wild Fable line. 

Target issued a statement on the matter to Newsweek Monday. "At Target, we have a deep appreciation and respect for design rights. We’re aware of the lawsuit filing and have been in contact with our vendor, who is looking into the claims," a spokesperson for target wrote.

In 2003, Target had previously been sued in a joint lawsuit by Asics Tiger Corp. and Asics Corporation Japan centering on Target’s sale of pro-spirit style shoes. The shoes allegedly sported a stripe similar to the Asics logo, according to Biz News in 2003.

Target was also subject to a lawsuit from fashion brand Burberry in May, which claimed the retailer had copied their signature check print, according to Business Insider. At the time, a Target spokesperson told the publication “We have great respect for design rights. We are aware of the filing by Burberry and hope to address the matter in a reasonable manner."

This article has been updated to include Target's statement.

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