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Mixed Results for Converse in Trademark Battle

Converse got some but not all of what it wanted Friday in a ruling on its 2014 lawsuit with 31 different companies it accused of various copyright infringements in regards to its Chuck Taylor sneakers.

The U.S. Internal Trade Commission (ITC) awarded the Nike-owned brand a partial victory, ruling that Converse’s distinct diamond-shaped outsole should be protected by law, but that other parts of its shoes don’t share the same protections.

In 2014, Converse filed 22 separate trademark infringement lawsuits against companies like Walmart, H&M, Skechers, Ed Hardy, and more, but the ITC struck down most of those claims, including Converse’s toe cap, rubber-toe band and striped design, which the company argued should be protected.

Michael Greenberg, Skechers president, said in a statement that, “countless companies, including Skechers, have used the same midsole design in canvas court-style sneakers for decades.”

“We are pleased that the ITC invalidated Converse’s claimed trademarks in the Chuck Taylor midsole design,” he continued.

Nike, however, vowed to keep fighting on, saying that it plans to appeal. Of the original 31 defendants in the suit brought on by Converse, only Walmart, Skechers, and Highline United remain, with the others having settled out of court.

“While we do not agree with all of the ITC’s findings, we feel confident our rights will be vindicated on appeal,” said Nike lawyer Brian Fogarty. “This is but one step in a long process.”