Converse has accused Autonomie Project of infringing on its iconic-Chuck Taylor All Stars by producing similarly designed eco-friendly sneakers. Boston Magazine has obtained a complaint filed by North Andover-based Converse in the U.S. District Court in Boston on September 9 against the Jamaica Plain-based Autonomie Project for trademark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin, unfair business practices and trademark dilution.
This intellectual property dispute dates back to 2012, when Converse sent Autonomie Project, a fair trade fashion company, a cease and desist letter after discovering that Autonomie Project’s Ethletic High Top sneakers and Low Top sneakers bear the same sole, stitching and overall look of Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Stars. Converse even claims that at the time it sent the cease and desist letter, Autonomie Project’s website advertised the fact that its sneakers looked similar to Converse’s Chuck Taylors.
“Converse owns common law and federal trademark rights in the appearance of the outsole, midsole, and upper designs commonly used in connection with Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Star shoes, including but not limited to the design of two stripes on a midsole, the design of a toe cap, the design of a multi-layered toe bumper featuring diamonds and line patterns, and the relative position of these elements to each other,” reads Converse’s complaint.
Converse claims that the damage Autonomie Project has done to its goodwill and reputation for quality is irreparable. However, Converse still hopes that by filing suit it can recover damages in the form of the destruction of all infringing products, actual damages, Autonomie Project’s profits and attorney fees. For its part, Autonomie Project has not tweeted or updated its blog since 2012, although the Ethletic High Top sneakers and Low Top sneakers were still advertised on its website at the time of this report.
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Quick Klein Extra: In 2007, Paris Hilton sued Hallmark for using the expression “That’s hot” and her likeness as one of its greeting card designs and won.
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