The fast food chain In-N-Out has recently sued the sportswear brand Puma over a new release called the “California Drive Thru” Sneaker.
As can be seen in the video above, the sneaker has palm tree patterned laces, along with red and gold details throughout. When compared to an In-N-Out store, the shoe, and its name, greatly resemble the visual characteristics of the fast food brand. Based on these key similarities, I believe In-N-Out has a pretty good case here. Under U.S. trademark law, trade dress is very protectable. This means that the way the restaurant looks and feels is a protected under federal trademark law in the US.
In-N-Out recently released a statement expressing concerns that consumers would think a relationship existed between the two brands based on the shoe design alone. I think it’s a very legitimate claim, and one that Puma will need to take very seriously. It may very soon become a “limited edition” sneaker if Puma decides to pull the product from the marketplace in response to the lawsuit.