The parodist could not rely on First Amendment protection because it used the famous sneakers as a source identifier.

The maker of a sneaker that parodied a famous brand of skateboard-friendly kicks was not entitled to First Amendment protection against a claim of trademark infringement because it used the trade dress of the original as a source identifier in the promotion of sales, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has held. The court, in affirming a district court’s grant of a preliminary injunction freezing sales of the parody shoe, also found that the district court acted within its discretion in weighing the traditional likelihood of confusion factors (Vans, Inc. v. MSCHF Product Studio, Inc., December 5, 2023, Jacobs, D.).

Case date: 05 December 2023
Case number: No. 22-1006
Court: United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.


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