Most people in New Jersey have seen their fair share of knock-off clothing items, handbags, sunglasses and more. Some of these things are found in obscure places and others are found in more mainstream stores. Regulating and defending intellectual property rights in the world of fashion, it seems, can be difficult.
As explained by The Vox, copyrights or trademarks associated with creative works may well be easier to defend than those associated with manufacturing. To some people, fashion may fall in the former category but in the business sector, it is clearly in the world of manufacturing. For this reason, companies that want to protect their trademarks or other distinguishing features can endure great challenges.
Shoe manufacturer, Vans, has recently filed a lawsuit against the mega-retailer Target and one of its designers for alleged trademark infringement. At issue is a particular shoe that Target, in conjunction with Wild Fable, sold at Target locations. These shoes were marketed in a way similar to that of a shoe marketed by Vans and included a design and mark similar to a Vans shoe. The mark was actually trademarked by Vans in 1998.
One of the points that may well contribute to the outcome of the case will center around the intention of Target and Wild Fable. If the two companies consciously intended to confuse consumers into thinking they were purchasing Vans shoes, the decision may be different than if they were only leveraging the image originally created by Vans but clearly indicating who made the shoes.