If you’ve ever searched for sneakers online, you may have been shocked to find them on Walmart. The retail giant allows third-party sellers on its website, leading to some unusual product options that you wouldn’t find at your local store.
One such item has spurned a lawsuit, as Kanye West has targeted Walmart for allowing bootleg Yeezy Foam Runners to be sold on its platform. Numerous pairs of fake Foam Runners have appeared on Walmart’s website, with prices ranging from $22 to $34 a pair. The real foam sandals retail for $75 but consistently and rapidly sell out.
The suit, which was filed in Thursday in a California court, alleges that Yeezy sent Walmart multiple warnings to cease sales of the fake shoes “virtually indistinguishable” from the real thing. Multiple outlets reported that the bootlegs were still available on Walmart’s site on Thursday after the suit was filed, but search results for the shoes now come up empty.
Walmart responds — “The product referenced in the complaint is not sold by Walmart, but rather by third party Marketplace sellers,” the company said in a statement. “We take allegations like this seriously and are reviewing the claim. We will respond in court as appropriate after we have been served with the complaint.”
Despite shifting the blame, Walmart would indeed profit from such third-party sales. Amazon has taken flack for allowing counterfeit products to flourish on its own platform but has been able to avoid legal responsibility by never acting as owner of the products and merely facilitating sales.
“Walmart is flagrantly trading off of [West] and Yeezy’s brand popularity by offering for sale an imitation version of the Yeezy Foam Runner,” the suit says, according to Fox Business. The suit then goes on to claim the potential loss for the bootlegs is worth “hundreds of millions” — but recouping anything near that could prove difficult if Walmart is able to exploit the same loophole as Amazon.
This isn’t the first dispute between West and Walmart either. In April, Walmart filed a complaint after Yeezy sought to trademark a logo that bore resemblance to the one the retail giant has been using since 2007.