New Balance sues Michael Kors for shoe design with letter “N”


People walk past a Michael Kors store in Lakewood, Colorado. REUTERS / Rick Wilking

  • Luxury brand uses similar ‘N’ design on shoes, complaint claims
  • Confusion allegedly likely because Kors himself is a New Balance fan

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(Reuters) – Sneaker maker New Balance Athletics sued luxury brand Michael Kors in Boston federal court on Wednesday, alleging that two pairs of its shoes use a letter “N” in their designs that violates New Balance brands .

The lawsuit also says Michael Kors’ Pippin and Olympia shoes infringe New Balance’s clothing rights by citing the design of its best-selling “574” shoe model – which it says is expected to sell more than 7 million dollars. pairs this year – and this confusion is more likely because Kors himself is a “well-known fan” of the brand.

New Balance spokeswoman Amy Dow said the lawsuit was brought to “protect our brand, our iconic ‘N’ brands and the reputation of our products.” Her attorney Mark Puzella from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe declined to comment.

Michael Kors’ parent company, Capri Holdings, which also owns luxury brands Versace and Jimmy Choo, also declined to comment.

New Balance said in the complaint that it has used the letter “N” on its products for more than 40 years and has federal trademarks covering the logo. The company said it asked Michael Kors to stop using a similar “N” letter pattern on his shoes, but was pushed back.

The fact that Kors himself is a fan of New Balance – who claims to own “a good fifteen pairs of New Balance in black,” according to the complaint – and that the brand is known for its collaborations makes consumers more likely to believe. mistakenly that his shoes are affiliated with New Balance, according to the complaint.

New Balance also said that Michael Kors’ use of the letter “N” on the “saddle” of his shoes – a piece of the shoe that wraps around laces in the midfoot – specifically infringes trademark rights. of New Balance in its use of the letter “N” on the saddles of several of its “most famous” shoe models.

New Balance settled claims in Massachusetts court that Nautica’s shoes infringed its “N” marks last year.

The case is New Balance Athletics Inc v Michael Kors (USA) Inc, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, No.1: 21-cv-11305.

For New Balance: Mark Puzella d’Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

For Michael Kors: Not available immediately

Blake brittain

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Contact him at [email protected]

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