Dec 7, 2023 1 min read

Judges wave away appeal over Tyga’s Vans ‘parody’ shoes

Tyga and MSCHF’s Wavy Baby shoes, which it put on sale last year, did infringe trademarks owned by Vans, an appeals court has ruled

Judges wave away appeal over Tyga’s Vans ‘parody’ shoes

Tyga and MSCHF did infringe Vans’ trademarks when they made their ‘Wavy Baby’ shoes, an appeals court in the US has ruled. Because, it said, just taking some shoes and making them look weird doesn’t count as a parody.

The appeals judges upheld an earlier ruling banning MSCHF from selling the shoes, saying that “no special First Amendment protections apply” that would protect the creation of the shoes as a parody, and that it was pretty likely that Vans’ trademarks had indeed been violated.

The shoes look like a pair of Vans Old Stool trainers that have gone all, well, wavy. They were hit with a trademark lawsuit by Vans almost as soon as they were launched in April 2022 - the company arguing that because it often collaborates with musicians on limited edition shoes, consumers would likely believe that the MSCHF/Tyga tie up was another of those deals.

MSCHF argued that, with the Wavy Baby product, it was clearly making a very clever joke about the shoe industry which was allowed under US law. However, the judge overseeing the case disagreed, saying that the parody was not “successful” and would create confusion among consumers. Because, he reckoned, those consumers - like him - would not get the joke.

An appeal was launched soon after the original ruling, and was supposed to be fast-tracked. But it’s only now, a year and a half later, that we’ve received the decision that the original ruling was correct.

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