The multi-billion-dollar footwear industry accounts for an enormous portion of the United States economy. Among the top brands, an iconic pair of shoes is the Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor. The rubber shoe company generated a global revenue of nearly $2 billion in 2019 alone. The consistent popularity of the Chuck Taylors over the last decades has prompted many copycats to try to mimic the company’s leading look.
The Federal Circuit recently ruled in a trademark infringement case, Converse Inc. v. International Trade Commission. The case followed Converse’s complaint against various footwear products, including brands such as Sketchers and New Balance, for the importation and sale of shoes that infringe on its trademark––its classic All-Star shoes design. The Federal Circuit rejected the International Trade Commission’s balancing test for finding secondary meaning and reversed the International Trade Commission’s holding. In doing so, the Federal Circuit gave its own set of factors for the balancing test for the first time, amidst the numerous tests developed by circuit courts over the years.
Although there should be uniformity across the circuit courts in finding secondary meaning, the Federal Circuit’s test should not be followed. The Federal Circuit’s ruling comes with implications that can affect the apparel industry and possible resolutions for future controversy. Instead, this Comment proposes a new multi-factor test after exploring the differences between the Federal Circuit’s test and the various circuit courts’ tests.
Scuffed Chucks: Converse's Scuffle, the Federal Circuit's Overstep, and the Court's Stance on Trademark Infringement,
40 Loy. L.A. Ent. L. Rev. 203
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/elr/vol40/iss2/2