Skechers Sues Sears

Skechers USA Inc. is suing Sears Holdings Corp.

The Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based footwear brand alleges that Sears is selling footwear that infringes on its popular product lines, which include Shape-ups, Twinkle Toes and Z-Strap.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, asserts that Sears is selling products that look like Skechers’ own under the labels of TheraShoe, Melrose Avenue, Paris Blues and Athletech, all through Sears and Kmart retail stores and websites.

Both Sears and K-Mart sell Skechers shoes. Skechers is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief for alleged infringement on its patents, trademark and trade dress rights, for dilution and for unfair competition.

In a statement, Philip Paccione, general counsel of Skechers, said Skechers has “obtained more than 150 patents and trademarks on these lines, and [has] built them into brand names universally recognized around the world as synonymous with Skechers.”

“While we value our relationship with Sears, [its] actions are causing us tremendous damage, and we simply cannot let any company, let alone a company the size of Sears, infringe on our most valuable intellectual property,” Paccione added.

The suit comes as Skechers continues to struggle with excess inventory of toning product, having recently forecasted its wholesale revenue will be down as much as 10 percent in the first quarter of 2011. The firm also missed earnings expectations in its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2010.

Calls to Sears were not immediately answered.

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