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Trump sneaker knockoffs spark lawsuit over copyright infringement

The company behind former President Donald Trump’s new sneaker line filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the sale and promotion of counterfeit shoes by a series of people and business entities.

The suit, filed in federal court in Arizona, claims trademark and copyright violations. The defendants are not named — the plaintiffs said they would be identified in a forthcoming sealed document. The lawsuit says they are individuals, unincorporated business associations and business entities located largely outside the U.S. operating through commercial websites hosted domestically.

Attorneys for the company, 45Footwear LLC, asked the court to prohibit the defendants from any illicit reproduction, along with bans on advertising or selling counterfeit sneakers or operating or registering websites tied to their sales. They also asked that defendants account for and pay them “any and all profits” related to violations of trademark law or for the court to award $2 million for “each and every use” of the mark counterfeited by each defendant and $25,000 for each copyright violation.

Trump launched the Trump Sneakers line in February. It features three different pairs — high-tops, red laceless athletic shoes and white laceless athletic shoes — costing $199 to $399, emblazoned with the letter “T,” among other details.

The shoes have also been promoted as a benefit for high-dollar donors. Trump’s name, image and likeness were licensed to sell the sneakers. They are not affiliated with his campaign.

Attorneys for 45Footwear said in the lawsuit that they had hired an online fraud investigator who identified people and businesses promoting and selling counterfeit sneakers “before any authentic Sneakers have even been shipped.”

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