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Adidas Sues Sketchers for Patent Infringement

Written by Fozia Cheychi on 12 July 2016

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The two companies are no strangers in the court room, last year the companies were embroiled in a legal battle over Stan Smith- a shoe style that is named after the professional tennis player. Adidas had argued that Sketchers’ Onix design was far too similar to Adidas’ Stan Smith shoes. Adidas emerged the victorious party and won a preliminary injunction against Sketchers in February when a federal judge ordered Sketchers to halt manufacturing of the Onix.

The new lawsuit has been filed in the US District Court for the District of Oregon (Portland Division). It targets Sketchers’ Mega Flex line which includes the Mega Blade 2.0 and Mega Blade 3.0. Adidas claims the Mega Flex is stolen from the design of its Springblade shoe. Both shoes encompass a series of blade-like structures running underneath the sole of the shoe. According to the suit “the blades are designed to provide a high energy return to runners and a sense of buoyancy, even you’re walking”. Adidas has cited articles and consumer comments on social media in order to demonstrate its point. An example cited is a comment made on a Sketchers YouTube video “stop copying other shoe brands, Adidas made these shoes first”.

Industry experts have also recognised the copying, for example, a report by Riley Jones, an author specialising in sneakers and style states “Currently in stock on the Skechers website are a variety of boys’ ‘Mega Flex’ sneakers which, even from an outsider’s perspective, look exactly like the Adidas Springblade technology.”

The following official statement has been released by Adidas “Today, Adidas filed another lawsuit against Sketchers. We will not stand by and allow others to blatantly copy our products and infringe on our valuable intellectual property. These shameless imitations tarnish the reputation of our brand and our people who work tirelessly to research and develop technical innovations and designs that help athletes make a difference”. The statement continues “We are the leader in footwear innovation, design and engineering, creating high performance shoes for athletes. We are a company of creators and makers who lead the industry to new standards, continually bringing the best in high-quality products to consumers. This pattern of unlawful behaviour and freeloading in the industry is outrageous and must end. We will take every legal measure possible to protect and defend our innovations”.

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