California consumers may be interested to learn that Adidas and Skechers USA Inc. have ended a trademark dispute that dates back to September 2015. The companies announced a settlement on May 30.

According to media reports, Germany-based Adidas claimed that Skechers copied its famous three-stripe design, its Supernova mark and the overall style of its Stan Smith sneaker when it created the Onix sneaker. The suit alleged that the Onix sneaker was nearly indistinguishable from the Stan Smith sneaker and the similarities could cause consumers to mix them up. In February 2016, a court granted a preliminary injunction against Skechers, forbidding the American company from selling two sneaker designs and prohibiting it from using the name Supernova. In August 2017, a U.S. district judge denied Skechers’ motion for summary judgment on the lawsuit. He said that the company appeared to have deliberately attempted to copy the Stan Smith shoe and noted that the Adidas stripes have “very strong global recognition.”

In early May, Adidas claimed that another Skechers shoe copied the Stan Smith design and filed an emergency motion requesting contempt sanctions. This led the two companies to negotiate a settlement agreement out of court. While the terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, both companies have dismissed all claims and counterclaims against each other and agreed to pay their own court expenses.

Trademark lawsuits can be contentious and protracted. Companies facing intellectual property disputes may want to consult an attorney familiar with business litigation. The attorney may review the case and develop strategies for defending a company’s reputation and financial interests. The attorney may also work to negotiate a settlement agreement with opposing counsel. If necessary, the attorney might litigate the case in court.

Source: Footwear News, “Adidas and Skechers Settle Three-Stripe Copycat Lawsuit,” Hilary George-Parkin, May 31, 2018