Footwear brand New Balance is suing Michael Kors for allegedly infringing on its branding in a set of shoes which feature an ‘N’ shaped design.
New Balance claims the symbol is a clear identifier of its footwear, with the N design being a staple of New Balance’s products for more than forty years according to Fashion United, and has been used without its permission. And, despite a ‘Michael Kors’ branding on the side of the shoe, New Balance believes the design degrades its trademark and will lead to confusion.
“Customer confusion is a near certainty because the Michael Kors N design appears in a virtually identical commercial context,” the business’ court filing said.
The claim does have some merit, as Michael Kors told Harper’s Bazaar he personally owns at least 15 pairs of New Balance shoes: a sign he could have been knowingly or unknowingly inspired to create a similar design.
New Balance is asking for damages to be paid based on the amount of shoes sold in the offending Olympia and Pippin collections, as well as their removal from sale.