This summer has proven to be a busy one for footwear copycat lawsuits. Major brands such as Nike, Skechers and Adidas as well as fashion labels including Aquazzura have filed high-profile suits protecting their respective intellectual property.
The suits are a big moment for companies as they try to protect their own designs in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Here are a roundup of the key filings made this year and what it means for footwear.
Aquazzura Sues Steve Madden, Marc Fisher Footwear, Ivanka Trump
Aquazzura took on the world this summer, suing Steve Madden, Marc Fisher Footwear and Ivanka Trump for copycat styles. The court will have to decide if the lace-up, gilly, gladiator trend belongs to the luxury fashion house, and the outcome could have implications far-reaching for luxury brands protecting iconic styles that often inspire the mass market.
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1. Marc Fisher Footwear, Ivanka Trump: Aquazzura filed suit against the company for copying its Wild Thing sandal, among other styles. Aquazzura is asking the court to declare the Wild Thing a style associated with just the luxury brand, and therefore protected by “common dress law.” Fisher filed suit against Aquazzura asking the court to declare its own styles and the Wild Thing as a general trend, and not eligible for protection.
2. Steve Madden: After riling up fashion enthusiasts with the Trump suit, Aquazzura turned around and filed against Steve Madden as well. The suit differs slightly in that Aquazzura is accusing Madden of patent violation for its well-known Christie flat.
Adidas Sues Ecco, APL, TRB Acquisitions
If there’s one thing Adidas might be better known for than its history as a soccer brand, it’s the signature three-striped logo. And not surprisingly, it’s heavily trademarked. In February, the brand won a major ruling protecting the signature mark in the European Union, and the company has continued to file suit against other brands for violating its trademark.
1. TRB Acquisitions LLC: Adidas sued TRB in November for using a logo resembling its own branding and also that of Reebok’s diffusion line RBK. The TRB owned athletic line RBX is the brand at the forefront of the suit.
2. Athletic Propulsion Labs: Adidas sued the upscale sneaker brand in March for using the three-stripe mark on the sides of its sneakers.
3. Ecco: Adidas filed suit against Ecco in the U.S. in April for using three stripes on the sides of two of its men’s styles and one of its women’s sneakers.
Skechers Sue Eliya Inc.
In April, Skechers filed suit against Eliya Inc., the distributor of Bernie Mev footwear. According to Skechers, Eliya Inc. was illegally selling the Bernie Mev Gummies line, which Eliya had agreed to stop distributing in a previous settlement. Skechers said the Gummies line infringed on its patented Skech Air brand soles.
Adidas Sues Skechers
Adidas and Skechers are no strangers to the courtroom battle. In early July, Adidas filed another case against the Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based brand Skechers for copying its patented Springblade line.
Nike Sues Skechers
Nike kicked off the New Year filing a suit against Skechers for violating patents for its Flyknit shoes.