Vans Secure Temporary Restraining Order Against MSCHF's 'Wavy Baby' Sneaker
News on this lawsuit was originally published on April 15, 2022,
Update May 3, 2022: Vans have secured an early victory in their court battle against MSCHF over the Wavy Baby sneaker, with Judge William Kuntz of New York's eastern district court ruling that the 'Wavy Baby' had already confused consumers and therefore could not be considered a parody of an existing product on April 29. Per a report from Complex's Brendan Dunne, Kuntz granted Vans a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against MSCHF, essentially stopping all further sales of the Wavy Baby. The filing has also instructed MSCHF to cancel any pending Wavy Baby orders and escrow any money made from orders that cannot be cancelled, so they can refund customers if the final ruling in the lawsuit is in Vans' favour.
In his order, Kuntz wrote that 'plaintiffs have sufficiently demonstrated actual consumer confusion,' and that 'multiple independent sources commented on the similarity between the Old Skool shoes and the Wavy Baby shoes.' He also mentions that the Wavy Baby lacks an 'element of satire, ridicule, joking or amusement' that would show a casual consumer they're not made by Vans. His ruling strikes down the argument made by MSCHF's lawers that the Wavy Baby was produced for consumers who would know the difference between it and a Vans sneaker, and that it would not cause confusion.
Stay tuned for more case updates, and check out the original story below for further context on the lawsuit's origins!
Brooklyn-based MSCHF are no stranger to legal troubles – in 2021, their 'Satan Shoes' with Lil Nas X resulted in a trademark infringement lawsuit from Nike, and now they've drawn the ire of Vans with their recently-revealed Wavy Baby sneaker, which was created in partnership with rapper Tyga. On Thursday, Vans filed a complaint against MSCHF in New York's eastern district court, claiming that the Wavy Baby is an 'effort to confuse consumers, unlawfully siphon sales from Vans and intentionally damage Vans' valuable intellectual property rights.'
The key point of Vans' claim against MSCHF and the Wavy Baby is that it's clearly based on the Old Skool, one of the longest-running and most well-known models in the Vans lineup. As can be seen in one of the images from the claim below, Vans' complaint notes the myriad of similarities between the Old Skool and Wavy Baby, from the branding to the colour scheme, material composition and even packaging. The complaint also includes Tyga, though unlike MSCHF he isn't listed as a defendant.
'The Old Skool is one of our iconic styles worn by Vans fans of all ages around the world and we remain committed to safeguarding our heritage and intellectual property,' Vans said in a statement to Complex. 'While we’re unable to comment on pending litigation and are disappointed that it has reached this point, we are taking the necessary legal action.'
MSCHF, for their part, were irreverent. In a message sent to us and several other media outlets, they said that the Wavy Baby is 'the platonic ideal of a skate shoe, warped to shit.' They also mentioned that 'standard shoe industry practice is: steal a sole, steal an upper, change a symbol. Wavy Baby is a complete distortion of an entire object that is itself a symbol.'
Continuing on, MSCHF says that Vans reached out to them to settle ahead of the Wavy Baby drop – which is currently scheduled for April 18 – by asking for half of the profits from the release, four pairs of Wavy Baby shoes for their archives and a chance to speak about future collaborations. 'Turns out they were shaking our hand [and] at the same time they were stabbing us in the back,' the correspondence reads. 'MSCHF believes in the freedom of expression, and nothing is more important than our ability, and the ability of other artists like us, to continue with our work over the coming years.'
Vans' suit demands that MSCHF be forbidden from advertising or selling the Wavy Baby, and that they be prohibited from using any Vans trademarks on future products. They're also demanding that all the Wavy Baby sneakers in existence are destroyed, and any profits from the shoes are surrendered.
As of now, MSCHF plans to go ahead with the Wavy Baby release on April 18. Keep it locked here for any further updates on this case as it develops.
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