Primark has been threatened with legal action after producing a ‘copycat’ version of Veja’s popular trainers.
This is not the first time that Primark have been threatened by a footwear brand for selling ‘counterfeit’ trainers. Last year, Vans had filed a law suit in the US against Primark for allegedly copying the designs of their two iconic skater trainers.
The French label, Veja is a popular choice for fashion bloggers, celebrities and influencers as one of the brands unique features is that it is a sustainable brand as it uses materials that are sourced locally and organically.
For customers not willing to shell out £115 for a pair, Primark has produced a much cheaper version costing only £7. The design and details of the trainers are significantly similar to the Veja trainers. Veja will need to prove that there are a combination of elements that consumers have associated with its trainers and that by copying those elements, Primark has created a trainer that is similar in appearance.
Whether Veja can prove Primark’s trainers are sufficiently similar to be considered ‘counterfeit’ will have to be determined at Court, but there is no question that Primark’s shoes have similar characteristics.
It is worth noting that where close copies are made of your products, actions for unfair competition and passing off may be possible but they are far from straightforward, notoriously uncertain and expensive. Obtaining registered designs or obtaining trade marks to protect distinctive designs of your footwear products or brand is advisable and is an important asset to your business.
You can protect the look of your product in the UK for as little as £50 with a registered design. This covers all aspects of your design including the appearance, physical shape, configuration and decoration. The registration will give you exclusive rights for up to 25 years and if someone was to ever copy or steal your design, it would make taking legal action more straightforward.
Get early advice on your product ideas and pre-launch. Briffa are experts in all aspects of intellectual property law and practice. If you would like to book a free consultation to discuss any designs or other intellectual property issues, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 7288 6003 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Noyemie Sahakian, Solicitor