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Streetwear Brand Milkcrate Takes Adidas to Court in Dispute Over Logo and Name

Milkcrate Athletics has taken Adidas North America to court — again — for alleged copyright and trademark infringement.

The 25-year-old streetwear brand claimed in a late July filing with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York that Adidas released three sneakers from its collaboration with Vic Lloyd bearing a logo on the tongues of the shoes that it said “blatantly” copies Milkcrate’s design and is “indistinguishable” from it.

Adidas is “offering for sale and selling sneakers, which bear and are advertised and sold using confusingly similar and identical imitations of [Milkcrate’s] trademarks and copyrights,” the court document stated.

Milkcrate alleges that Adidas selling the shoes represents “willful and intentional infringement, dilution deceptive business practices, and unfair competition.” The brand seeks injunctive relief to stop Adidas from using Milkcrate’s name and registered trademarks and copyrights. Milkcrate also seeks “compensatory, treble, and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees resulting from [Adidas’] infringing acts.”

The sneakers in question were released on Feb. 5, 2020; Oct. 24, 2020; and as recently as July 3, 2021. They are the Vic Lloyd x Adidas Superstar, the Vic Lloyd x Adidas Forum Low “Chicago Works Harder,” and the Vic Lloyd x Adidas Forum Low.

The court document said that Vic Lloyd, along with his partner, Corey Gilke, were wholesale buyers for the Milkcrate brand for 10 years and that they purchased branded product for their own retail store in Chicago.

The filing noted that the two companies came to an “amicable settlement” in a 2019 trademark infringement suit over a milk crate logo on a Brooklyn Nets T-shirt.

“Adidas clearly values and covets Milkcrate and evidently thinks Milkcrate is so cool that it is once again, knowingly, willfully and intentionally ripping-off Milkcrate’s name and logo and treating whatever attendant potential fall-out and/or resultant lawsuit simply as a ‘cost of doing business’,” Milkcrate wrote in the court documents.

Milkcrate Athletics was founded in 1996 by Aaron LaCanfora and has used the Milkcrate trademark for sneakers and athletic footwear since 2006 “in conjunction with several major athletic companies,” according to the court filing. Additionally, Milkcrate Athletics has collaborated with artists such as Jay Z, Blur, Gorillaz, Madonna, Mark Ronson, Lily Allen, Lana Del Rey and Kanye West, among others.

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