Walmart Is Now Banned From Selling You This
You won't be able to buy this item in stores or online.
Walmart is the go-to place for many shoppers. The superstore's shelves are filled with affordable home goods, electronics, and groceries, which is why so many of us frequent our local store. It is also a great place to find clothing and accessories at a reasonable price, whether you're looking for practical options or trendy looks. However, one popular item will be missing from shelves for the foreseeable future. Read on to find out the footwear you won't be able to buy due to an ongoing lawsuit.
Walmart is temporarily barred from selling sneakers Vans Inc claims are "knockoffs."
If you're familiar with sneakers, you will likely recognize Vans' distinct style. The brand is a staple for skateboarders and teenagers alike, and has been since its founding in 1966. Functional and fashionable, Vans are sought out by customers who want stylish sneakers. But when there is high demand for a product, it often spurs competition.
This competitive spirit becomes problematic when products are too similar, which is the case with Walmart and Vans. In November 2021, Vans sued Walmart, alleging that the company had been copying and selling over 20 knockoff versions of Vans shoes. As reported by Reuters, earlier this month, a California federal court temporarily blocked Walmart's sale of these shoes. This ban will continue for the duration of the trademark infringement litigation.
Here's why Vans decided to sue Walmart.
In a November 2021 complaint, Vans included photos of Walmart's "copycat shoes," stating that the company copied their designs and sold more knockoffs, made by third parties, online. The Walmart shoes range in price between $9.97 and $18.64 before tax, while Vans shoes retail for an average price of $60. "Walmart has truly flooded the market with its cheap, poorly made, and confusingly similar knockoffs," Vans' complaint reads.
Vans also alleged that Walmart does this with intent, meaning they explicitly sell these products as "Vans dupes" or "Vans knockoffs" suggesting customers can get a Vans product without the price. In the complaint, Vans also included screenshots from several bloggers and social media users that tout the Walmart sneakers as a way to "get the look for less."
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Walmart countered the claims in a January 2022 filing.
Issues became more complicated in January of this year when Walmart countered Vans' suit and the request for a ban on sales. The company called Vans' claims "weak," and stated the company was "not suffering irreparable harm"—which must be proven to enact a ban on sales—nor was its reputation tarnished as a result of Walmart's products. Walmart stated that the ban would cost them "tens of millions of dollars," and further refuted any counterfeiting on their part.
Despite Walmart's stance, a federal judge issued the ban.
U.S. District Judge David Carter said that Walmart's shoes, specifically the Time and True, No Boundaries, and Wonder Nation, "clearly bear striking similarities" to Vans' Old Skool shoe. The injunction was announced on Thursday, March 31, Reuters reported, with Judge Carter stating that "the high degree of similarity between Walmart's allegedly infringing shoes and the respective Vans models raises an inference of intent to confuse." Countering Walmart's claims, the injunction also states Vans may in fact experience irreparable harm without injunctive relief.
"We are reviewing the order and considering our options. We plan to continue defending the company," Walmart told Best Life in an email. Best Life reached out to Vans for comment on the lawsuit, but has yet to hear back.