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Vans accuses MSCHF of breaching injunction over Tyga’s trainers

By | Published on Friday 13 May 2022

MSCHF x Tyga - Wavy Baby

Vans has gone back to court, accusing MSCHF of breaching a court order over the trainers it created with rapper Tyga. The shoe company says that MSCHF continued to ship its ‘Wavy Baby’ shoes after an injunction ordered it to halt their sale.

In a new legal filing yesterday, Vans said that MSCHF has “intentionally and repeatedly flouted the authority of the court” by continuing to ship orders as recently as Wednesday.

“The shipments were not irreversible orders picked up shortly after the injunction issued”, Vans’ legal team writes. “They were made almost two weeks after the court’s unambiguous order that no such shipments be made. MSCHF should be held in contempt for failing to comply with the court’s unequivocal instructions”.

In a statement to Billboard, MSCHF’s attorney David H Bernstein says that Vans’ claim is “completely without merit” and that “MSCHF has complied, is complying, and will continue to comply with all court orders”.

“Vans’ request”, he adds, “is nothing more than a desperate attempt to distract from MSCHF’s pending appeal”.

The temporary restraining order prohibiting the continued sale of the ‘Wavy Baby’ shoes was granted in New York earlier this month.

MSCHF is the company behind Lil Nas X’s ‘Satan Shoes’, which drew legal action from Nike last year. The partnership with Tyga is a more ambitious project, creating a new kind of shoe, rather than modifying existing ones. However, the shoe design and accompanying imagery is clearly influenced by Vans, in a way that the shoe maker says infringes its trademarks.

For its part MSCHF insisted that the Wavy Baby trainers were a statement about the nature of the sports shoes business and should therefore be protected by its free speech rights. “Standard shoe practice is: steal a sole, steal an upper, change a symbol”, it said. “What a boring use of cultural material. Wavy Baby is a complete distortion of an entire object that is itself a symbol”.

MSCHF was also keen to stress that its shoe wasn’t identical to any Vans product, because they have made them look like they’d been digitally warped, and therefore the idea that its latest shoe project would confuse consumers into thinking it was an official Vans-endorsed venture wasn’t credible.

However, the judge hearing the case did not agree. He said that in trademark infringement cases like this, marks need not be identical in order for there to be a case for consumer confusion. Indeed, he added, “independent sources” had reported that consumer confusion had actually occurred regarding the latest MSCHF shoes and their possible link to Vans.

As noted by MSCHF’s attorney, the company is planning to appeal.