By Daniel Hunter

US shoemaker Converse is suing 31 firms, accusing them of copying the design of its trademark shoe.

Converse has filed lawsuits against some big names like Wal-Mart and Ralph Lauren. There are also companies based in Canada, Australia, Italy, China and Japan. It has issued more than 180 cease and desist letters to companies selling look-a-like shoes over the last six years.

The brand owned by US sport manufacturer Nike, has even appealed to the International Trade Commission to ban imports and sales of shoes imitating Converse's famous 'Chuck Taylor' design.

Converse chief executive Jim Calhoun said the company welcomes fair competition, but "we do not believe companies have a right to copy the Chuck's trademarked look".

The brand has sold more than one billions pairs of the Chuck Taylor sneakers, which were launched into fame on basketball courts in the US in 1917.

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