MSCHF Vans Sneaker Lawsuit Over Tyga Wavy Baby Shoe, Trademark Infringement
Vans sued for trademark infringement against MSCHF Thursday, accusing the Brooklyn art collective of ripping off the Vans Old Skool sneaker for the $220 wavy baby, an MSCHF sneaker collaboration with Tyga set to drop on Monday. The lawsuit, filed in court for the Eastern District of New York, calls MSCHF’s latest shoe an “effort to confuse consumers, illegally siphon off Vans sales and intentionally damage valuable intellectual property rights.” of Vans”.
Sneaker lawsuits are familiar territory for MSCHF, an entity that has tested brands’ limits on designs like its controversial Satan shoes with Lil Nas X (which Nike sued) and the more recent Tap3 sneaker.
Vans’ lawsuit draws attention to the similarities between its popular Old Skool shoe and the Wavy Baby, a sneaker clearly based on Vans’ design. It highlights the similarities that range from the logos used on the shoes to the packaging they come in. Vans claims that the Old Skool trade dress, the trademark relating to its physical appearance, is deliberately violated by MSCHF’s shoe.
Vans’ complaint mentions MSCHF collaborator Tyga, although he is not named as a defendant. He describes a TikTok video he made promoting the shoes that show him putting a pair of Vans Old Skools in a microwave and then taking a pair of Wavy Baby out of the same microwave.
In the complaint, Vans says it sent cease and desist letters to Tyga and MSCHF on April 5 and 6, respectively. “Despite cease and desist letters from Vans,” the lawsuit states. “MSCHF defiantly pushed on, continuing to aggressively market the Wavy Baby shoe.”
Vans’ lawsuit calls MSCHF’s product a copycat and references the group’s history of “free-riding on famous brands, such as Nike.”
In a statement provided to Complex today, Vans said the lawsuit was a matter of defending its story.
“The Old Skool is one of our signature styles worn by Vans fans of all ages around the world and we remain committed to protecting our heritage and intellectual property,” the brand said in a statement. “While we are unable to comment on any ongoing litigation and are disappointed that it has come to this, we are taking the necessary legal steps.”
MSCHF was noticeably less terse in his answerchanneling Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte and claiming that Vans had already approached and asked for half of the profits from the sale of the sneakers.
“They also indicated that they were open to meeting regarding future LMAO collaborations,” read the MSCHF statement. “Turns out they were shaking our hands at the same time they were stabbing us in the back.”
Vans appears to reference those negotiations in its lawsuit, saying it was unable to reach a resolution with MSCHF before filing the lawsuit.
MSCHF’s statement, which is partly made up of pieces from its original product description for the Wavy Baby, goes on to slam Vans, contrasting headline-grabbing MSCHF sneaker releases with those of the 56-year-old Californian brand.
“Vans is a hidden institution hiding behind its past heritage as a ‘creative youth brand’. In 50 years of sneaker releases, never has one of their shoes garnered so much pre-release attention,” it read. “The Wavy Baby is transformational beyond anything Vans could ever attempt.”
Vans is asking that MSCHF be prohibited from advertising or selling the Wavy Baby sneakers or using any version of its trademarks for future products. Vans also wants MSCHF to be ordered to deliver the sneakers for destruction and forfeit all profits from the sale of the shoes.