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New Balance Sues Golden Goose Over "Dad-Star" Sneaker

Image Used by New Balance in Court Case Regarding The Golden Goose "Dad-Star"
Image Used by New Balance in Court Case Regarding The Golden Goose "Dad-Star"

Sportswear giant New Balance has filed a lawsuit against luxury fashion brand Golden Goose. The Boston-based footwear company alleges that Golden Goose's "Dad-Star" sneaker design infringes upon the trade dress of their iconic 990 series, accusing the latter of capitalizing on its established reputation in the market.

New Balance's 990 line, initially released in the '80s, recently introduced its sixth iteration. While each version displays subtle design variations, New Balance claims it has purposefully retained a coherent and recognizable "look" throughout its iterations. This sneaker range has not only enjoyed immense popularity, but its sales have translated into hundreds of millions in revenue for New Balance. The brand claims that since the November 2022 release of the 990v6, it has invested about $1.5 million in promotions and has already sold hundreds of thousands of pairs.

New Balance's lawsuit identifies several design elements they deem as distinctive of their 990 range: the color tones, mesh underlay with suede overlay, overlay bars, a distinctively colored midsole and outsole, reflective accents, and reinforced rear eyelets. These specific features, they argue, have been borrowed by Golden Goose in their "Dad-Star" model.

Another bone of contention is the naming of Golden Goose's sneaker. The term "Dad-Star" seems to hint towards New Balance's reputation as the pioneer of the "dad shoe" trend. The 990 sneaker range, in particular, is renowned as the "original dad shoe." This moniker isn't just a market perception but a title New Balance has embraced and promoted extensively.

The color grey, prominently used by New Balance in its 990 line, is another flashpoint. New Balance associates deeply with this color, with about a third of all their shoes sold in grey colorways. They've also celebrated "Grey Day" since 2018, an event highlighting the brand's longstanding affiliation with the color. Golden Goose's use of grey in their "Dad-Star" model, New Balance asserts, is another intentional effort to muddle consumer perception.

New Balance demands an injunction to prevent Golden Goose from marketing and selling the "Dad-Star" sneaker and any future products that might infringe on the 990's trade dress. Furthermore, they seek to be awarded the profits Golden Goose accrued from selling the "Dad-Star" shoes.

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