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Why is Vans suing MSCHF? Controversy explored ahead of Tyga's Wavy Baby sneaker collab release

Vans suing MSCHF ahead of Tyga's Wavy Baby collaborative shoes (Image via MSCHF)
Vans suing MSCHF ahead of Tyga's Wavy Baby collaborative shoes (Image via MSCHF)
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Gargi Harjai

Vans announced their lawsuit against MSCHF x Tyga's Wavy Baby shoes on Thursday, April 14, 2022. However, MSCHF has decided to move forward with the release of the shoes, which are set to be dropped on Monday, April 18, 2022.

The lawsuit filed against MSCHF in New York's Eastern District Court is a claim of trademark infringement, which accuses the Brooklyn art collective of swindling the design of the iconic Vans Old Skool sneakers.


Controversy between Vans and MSCHF for Tyga's Wavy Baby collaborative sneakers explained

Controversy between Vans and MSCHF for Tyga's Wavy Baby collaborative sneakers explained (Image via Sportskeeda)
Controversy between Vans and MSCHF for Tyga's Wavy Baby collaborative sneakers explained (Image via Sportskeeda)

The complaint filed by Vans in New York's Eastern District Court comments upon MSCHF's latest shoe in collaboration with Tyga, Wavy Baby:

"An effort to confuse consumers, unlawfully siphon sales from Vans, and intentionally damage its valuable intellectual property rights."

The lawsuit contains a picture to highlight the similarities between the popular Old Skool silhouette and the Wavy Baby, a sneaker loosely based upon the Vans design. The similarities run from the use of logos on the heel tabs to the colorway of both the shoes. Vans pointed out that Old Skool's trade dress and and physical appearance is being willfully violated by the upcoming sneakers, Wavy Baby.

Now that Vans filed a lawsuit on MSCHF, how do you feel about the design? Does MSCHF have a case for defense? https://t.co/gy9fDmKT3L

The lawsuit was a 131-page filing, which also mentions MSCHF collaborator Tyga and describes the TikTok video made by the rapper to promote the shoes. In the aforementioned video, Tyga puts a pair of Vans Old Skool in the microwave, and then pulls out a pair of Wavy Baby's in its place.

The complaint also states that the Vans sent out a cease and desist letters to both Tyga and MSCHF on April 5, 2022 and April 6, 2022 respectively. However, the two proceeded to market the shoes:

“Despite Vans’ cease and desist letters. MSCHF defiantly pressed forward, continuing to aggressively market the Wavy Baby shoe."
Here we go again: Vans is suing MSCHF over the Wavy Baby sneaker. MSCHF says Vans reached out to try and settle before the sneaker drops on Monday, asking for half of the profits from the sales. https://t.co/w8geskL0wY

In an interview with Complex, a rep from Vans further explained their cause of the lawsuit and how they were adamant on saving the shoe's history:

“The Old Skool is one of our iconic styles worn by Vans fans of all ages around the world and we remain committed to safeguarding our heritage and intellectual property. While we’re unable to comment on pending litigation and are disappointed that it has reached this point, we are taking the necessary legal action."

MSCHF released a press release in response to the lawsuit in which they mentioned their side of the story.

"Vans reached out to settle with us proactively ahead of the drop. To have the drop go live Monday, they offered specific terms (as recently as 24 hours ago) asking for, among other things, half the profits and also 4 pairs of shoes for themselves. They also indicated they were willing to meet about future collaborations LMAO. Turns out that they were shaking our hand at the same time they were stabbing us in the back."
Vans lawyers say they sent MSCHF a cease and desist over the Wavy Baby sneakers last week. MSCHF says Vans "indicated they were willing to meet about future collaborations LMAO." https://t.co/0X6SMUEss3

Vans, however, appears to be the reference in the lawsuit to these negotiations, clearing that they weren't able to reach a resolution with MSCHF before they filed a complaint.

Vans demanded that MSCHF be barred from selling or advertising the Wavy Baby sneakers. They should also be restricted from using any of its trademark products in the future in their own versions. They further demanded that MSCHF be ordered to deliver the Wavy Baby sneakers for destruction and surrender to yield any profits from the shoes.

This won't be the first time MSCHF has been at the center of a controversy. In June 2021, the company came under fire for its "Satan shoes" which were a reiteration of Nike sneakers with a few drops of blood in them. The "Satan shoes" were promoted by Lil Nas X. Nike went against the art collective and filed a lawsuit, in which both parties eventually settled in court.


Edited by Rhythm Bhatia
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