NEW BALANCE WINS LAWSUIT AGAINS CONVERSE
International Trade Commission Finds Converse’s Chuck Taylor midsole trademark invalid.
BOSTON, JULY 14, 2016 – Boston-based New Balance Athletics, Inc. announced today that it has secured a landmark victory in its legal battle with Converse over trademark rights related to the PF Flyers Brand. New Balance acquired the PF Flyers brand in 2001.
In the Fall of 2014, Converse began aggressively asserting trademark rights in a combination of a toe cap, toe bumper and midsole stripe design elements as appears in its Chuck Taylor All Star. In doing so, it filed suit at the International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking a general exclusion order which would prohibit the importation of any shoe with those design elements made by any company.
New Balance Athletics, Inc., the owner of the famous PF FLYERS brand, intervened in the ITC case to protect its ability to continue to sell footwear using toe caps, toe bumpers and stripes as has been sold under the PF FLYERS brand for decades. In the public release of its full opinion today, the International Trade Commission found Converse’s alleged Chuck Taylor midsole trademark invalid, recognizing that numerous parties, including PF Flyers, have utilized similar designs for decades. The decision confirms PF Flyers’ right to continue to import and sell its classic footwear in the United States to its loyal consumers.
”We are extremely pleased that the International Trade Commission fully supported New Balance’s position that the alleged Converse midsole trademark is invalid.” says Paul Gauron, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at New Balance. “While New Balance respects competitors’ valid intellectual property rights and enforces its own trademarks in footwear, no single company owns the exclusive right to make classic athletic footwear with the combination of a toe cap, toe bumper, and midsole stripes as Converse claimed in this case.”