New Balance is coming after Steve Madden for allegedly copying one of its iconic designs.
In a complaint filed in a Massachusetts District Court on Tuesday, New Balance claimed that Steve Madden deliberately copied its 327 sneaker model with the launch of the fashion brand’s “Chasen” shoe model.
According to New Balance, Steve Madden’s infringing sneaker was designed “specifically to capitalize on and free-ride off of the success that New Balance had achieved with its 327 model.” The infringing shoe in question, New Balance alleges, “traded off of New Balance’s design, goodwill and reputation.”
New Balance launched its 327 model in 2020 and sold millions of pairs, New Balance claimed. The silhouette combines different elements of New Balance designs and materials and includes a distinct sole that curls up the front and back of the shoe. It also includes a large letter “N” on the side. The sole, outsole and letter N are the subjects of different patents for this design.
Steve Madden launched its allegedly infringing shoe, the Chasen, in late 2020 or early 2021. New Balance claims that this shoe mimicked its distinctive outer sole design and the letter N by including two stripes that create a similar appearance to this mark on the side of the shoe.
In a statement to FN, New Balance said that it goes to “great lengths” to protect the intellectual property of its products.
“While New Balance respects industry competition, Steve Madden’s Chasen shoe model infringes New Balance’s design patent protected 327, one of New Balance’s most popular and best-selling models,” the company said. “As a result of this infringement by Steve Madden, New Balance has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to protect our brand and the distinctive design of our 327 model.”
FN has reached out to Steve Madden for a comment.
In the complaint, New Balance claims that Steve Madden has been sued “more than a dozen times in recent years” for creative design infringement. In 2020, Deckers Outdoor Corp. and Converse both filed separate suits against Steve Madden, alleging infringing designs. Steve Madden has also been involved in similar disputes with Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Allbirds.
In 2019, Steve Madden and Yves Saint Laurent settled a dispute out of court after Saint Laurent alleged that Madden’s Sicily flats design infringed upon its high-heeled Tribute sandal.