Boston-based sportswear giant New Balance has recently commenced legal proceedings against luxury Italian label Golden Goose. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts last week, claims that Golden Goose has copied New Balance's signature Dad sneakers, particularly the flagship Model 990 line. Originally dubbed as uncool "dad shoes," New Balance's Model 990 sneakers have allegedly been imitated by Golden Goose.
Having introduced the 990 sneaker in the 1980s, New Balance has continued to evolve the design, now in its sixth iteration, with all designs remaining available in the market. The legal filing argues that Golden Goose's version seeks to create a deceptive connection between its products and New Balance in the minds of consumers.
The distinctive features of the 990 sneaker, characterised by its unique soles and grayscale hues, bear a striking resemblance to Golden Goose's later-released sneaker, which also exhibits a similar standout appearance. Notably, New Balance made significant investments in the marketing of the 990 v6 sneaker in November 2022, allocating approximately 1.5 million dollars to promote and successfully selling hundreds of thousands of pairs, said The Fashion Law.
The legal filing highlights that New Balance has invested "many millions of dollars and thousands of hours" to establish a unique association with the colour grey, employing various shades and themes of its signature hue.
In addition to the design claims, New Balance is also challenging the style name used by Golden Goose for its sneakers, which it coined as "Dad-Star." This name choice closely resembles the trend of dad shoes, a category strongly linked to New Balance, and one that the brand has extensively utilised in its advertising and communications efforts.