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Steve Madden Implicated in Lawsuit Over Alleged New Balance 327 Design Infringement

Steve Madden Chasen
Image Credit: Amazon
Concepts x New Balance 327
Concepts x New Balance 327

High-street footwear brand Steve Madden has become the subject of a new lawsuit filed by New Balance, who claim the ‘Chasen’ model infringes on the design of the 327. According to NB, the Chasen ‘deliberately copied [the] patent-protected 327 model sneaker and traded off [its] design, goodwill and reputation’.

The newly-launched lawsuit was filed on June 7 with the United States Court District of Massachusetts, where New Balance is based. According to the official complaint, Steve Madden are accused of launching the Chasen in late 2020 or early 2021, ‘specifically to capitalize on and free-ride off of the success that New Balance had achieved.'

The visual example NB have cited depicts the Concepts ‘Cape’ collaboration and the SM Chasen in a similar colourway, down to two parallel diagonal stripes in place of a N on the sides. This, according to NB, ‘would cause confusion for consumers, or cause consumers to assume that the shoe is associated with or otherwise sponsored by or affiliated with New Balance.’

Furthermore, SM also released an alternative version of the Chasen that replaced the stripes with a text-based ‘SM NY90’ logo, but NB say this model still infringes the 327’s distinct knobbly outsole, which is protected by design patents, along with other elements of the shoe.

Back in 2019, Steve Madden released a high-top that was very reminiscent of the Air Jordan 1. For more on the 327, check out this interview with its designer Charlotte Lee.

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