Adidas has obtained a preliminary injunction prohibiting Skechers from selling three styles of footwear! You may recall that adidas, one of the world’s most vigilant protectors of trademarks, filed a trademark lawsuit against its rival Skechers back in September. The German sports giant claimed that two Skechers styles and use of the word “Supernova” infringed adidas’ 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 has been heating up and we weren’t surprised that the lawyers had 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. One of the offending shoes by Skechers is its ‘Onyx’ shoe, also a white shoe with green markings and perforations. 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. The only difference is that though the perforations are punched in a different pattern of five lines. The question – are they confusingly similar? Well according to U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez, yes, they are!
Michael Greenberg, Skechers President, stated in a press release;
The Court’s ruling is preliminary, not final…further, it involves only three minor and commercially insignificant Skechers styles that have already been discontinued, and does not create any disruption in our business or have any impact on sales whatsoever. While this is a non-issue from a commercial standpoint, we are disappointed in the ruling and fully intend to appeal it in order to ensure that our footwear designers retain the freedom to use common design elements that have long been in the public domain.”
More to come on this one!