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Forever 21 settle Puma Fenty footwear suit

Written by Lucky Rathore a year 10 work experience on 16 November 2018

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In March of last year, the German brand of Puma filed stipulation of dismissal against Retailer Forever 21, at the US district court for the district of California. The reason behind this accusation, is due to Forever 21s shoe, more specifically the Yoki sneakers.

In 2015 Puma released the creeper trainer by Rihanna, which was very similar in comparison to Forever 21 Yoki sneakers. This was not the only similar product made by Forever 21, in that same year Puma had also released its slider sandals, the Fur sandal and the Bow Slider Sandal, again, by Rihanna. Puma claims that they have ‘blatantly’ copied their shoes.

The ‘Creeper’ trainer is protected by a US design patent and all the shoes are protected by trade dress. The Fenty Shoes, ridged vertical trading and grainy texture encompassing with thick rubber outer sole design, are copyright protected.

In June Puma failed to obtain an injunction, and then in February this year, Forever 21 had attempted to bring Rihanna into the case. To do this, they had asked for an extension to the deadline to add parties to the law suit and to amend pleadings in December, a move that was unopposed by Puma. Forever 21 had claimed in the case and Pumas public statements mean that Rihanna may be a ‘necessary and indelible’ to the case. Forever 21 claimed Rihanna is not named as an author on Puma’s copyright application or as an inventor on Pumas design patent. This of course, led the retailer to accuse puma of misrepresentation, claiming that there were only two logical conclusions to draw, either that Puma misrepresented material facts to the US patent and trademark office and the US copyright office, or Puma misrepresented to consumers that Rihanna designed the shoes.

The settlement follows the Forever 21 submission of motive for partial summary judgement. In October 2018, Forever 21 has said it would move for summary judgement of non- infringement of the design patent claim.

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