Skechers and Adidas Settle Their Legal Battle Over Stripes on Shoes

Skechers has moved to dismiss a preemptive lawsuit it filed against Adidas — alleging that the athletic giant had fraudulently accused it of patent infringement.

According to court documents, Skechers formally requested that the United States District Court for the Central District of California throw out the case it brought to a judge in February.

“The dispute has been resolved amicably,” Skechers wrote in a statement to FN. (Adidas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

At the time of the filing, Skechers claimed that it had received two cease-and-desist letters from Adidas, in which the Germany-based company accused it of copying its signature three-stripes trademark.

An exhibit featuring Skechers' Goldie-Peaks sneakers.
An exhibit featuring Skechers’ Goldie-Peaks sneakers.
CREDIT: United States District Court for the Central District of California

The sneakers in question were Skechers’ Goldie-Peaks, which bear four stripes on the sides of the shoes.

Adidas said the style not only “infringes and dilutes” its trademark but also is “sufficiently similar” to the three stripes. It demanded that Skechers halt the manufacturing, distribution, advertising and sales of the product.

Skechers then took the issue to court, writing in its opening complaint that the shoes did not violate Adidas’ rights in its registered trademarks. It argued that the athletic brand “operates in a crowded field of stripe designs,” which would entitle it only to limited protections under patent law.

“Given the profusion of these similar, third-party designs, consumers are unlikely to perceive the mid-foot panel on the Goldie-Peaks shoe as an execution of the Three-Stripe mark or assume that the Goldie-Peaks shoe is made by, sponsored by, approved by or otherwise associated with Adidas,” Skechers’ lawyers wrote.

The brand’s dismissal of its suit on Friday marked the end of the latest dispute between the two footwear leaders.

In 2015, Adidas pointed fingers at Skechers for allegedly infringing on its intellectual property, including the three-stripe design, Supernova mark and its fan-favorite Stan Smith style, contending that Skechers’ Onix sneaker was virtually identical to the latter. Three years later, the companies finally resolved their long-standing dispute out of court, each dismissing all claims and counterclaims and paying their own attorneys’ fees and expenses.

Watch FN’s interview with Stan Smith.

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