Adidas, one of the world’s most vigilant protectors of trademarks, has filed yet another trademark lawsuit! This time it’s against its rival Skechers. The German sports giant claims that Skechers is selling knockoffs of its ‘Stan Smith’ trainer in an “unabashed assault” on the company’s intellectual property rights. Sketchers recently surpassed Adidas as the second-largest sports footwear brand by in the US. In 2014 Meb Keflezighi became the first runner to win the Boston Marathon in Skechers shoes, providing an even bigger boost to shoe sales. Competition between the brands is heating up and there’s little surprise that the lawyers have been drafted in!
The classic Stan Smith design is based on a 1963 shoe worn by tennis star Stan Smith. The white shoe features green markings as well as perforations in its signature three lines. The offending shoe by Skechers is its ‘Onyx’ shoe, also a white shoe with green markings and perforations. The only difference is that though the perforations are punched in a different pattern of five lines. The question is, are they confusingly similar?
As well as the physical similarities Adidas claims that Skechers intended for its sneakers to be a “confusingly similar imitation” of Adidas’s Stan Smith shoe because Skechers’s website has been directing consumers who search for “Adidas STAN SMITH” to the the Onyx shoe. Or rather it was until the lawsuit was filed – we’ve just performed the search and got no results! Someone’s had a word with their IT manager…
Adidas have released the following statement
“Adidas filed the lawsuit today against Skechers to protect its valuable intellectual property and to put an end to a long-term pattern of unlawful conduct by Skechers to sell shoes that infringe Adidas’ rights. We believe Skechers’ unlawful behavior, which also includes misappropriation of Adidas’ Supernova and three-stripe trademark, needs to stop now.”
The company is seeking a permanent injunction, damages and fees.