Converse, Chuck Taylor All Star Comic strip
Converse, Chuck Taylor All Star Comic stripImage via Sneakerpedia.com

Iconic shoe manufacturer Converse is suing 31 companies who it believes has copied the design of its trademark sneakers.

The US company, which was purchased by Nike for $305m in 2003, has the likes of Wal-Mart, Fila and Ralph Lauren in its crosshairs as it believes that they, along with 28 other firms, sold replicas of its Chuck Taylor footwear.

Converse said that imitations of its Chuck Taylor shoes have become increasingly common in recent times, adding that it has served roughly 180 "cease and desist" letters to imitators since 2008.

The firm is also calling on the International Trade Commission to ban sales of shoes that have allegedly stolen its particular styling.

Jim Calhoun, chief executive, said: "Our decision to bring these lawsuits is grounded in the basic principle of fairness, our well-established right and responsibility to protect Converse's intellectual property, and our commitment to prevent consumer confusion in the marketplace.

"For generations, the Chuck Taylor, universally known as the 'Chuck,' has captured the hearts and minds of millions of consumers, selling over a billion pairs globally during the past century.

"We welcome fair competition, but we do not believe companies have a right to copy the Chuck's trademarked look."