Puma Is Suing Brooks Over Use of the Word ‘Nitro’ and Alleged Copycat Shoes

Puma is coming after Brooks over its use of the word “Nitro” and for allegedly infringing on the design patent of one of its shoes.

In a complaint filed Friday in a U.S. district court in the Southern District of Indiana, Puma accused Brooks of trademark infringement, patent infringement and unfair competition.

Specifically, Puma says in the filing it owns the rights to the “Nitro” mark that it uses on and in connection with certain shoes. As such, the German athletic brand has taken issue with Brooks’ use of the word “Nitro” to advertise its running shoes on its website, in-person and via social media.

“Brooks’ use of the NITRO mark without permission is, and has been, a deliberate attempt to trade on the valuable trademark rights, goodwill and consumer trust established by Puma in its Nitro mark,” the complaint read.

Puma also accused the running shoe brand of infringing on a patent for one of its shoe designs. According to Puma, Brooks’ Aurora BL sneaker, which includes the words “Nitrogen-injected” on the heel, is “substantially the same in the eyes of the ordinary observer” to a 2020 patent filed to protect Puma’s sneakers.

In a statement, Brooks described the allegations as “baseless.”

“Puma is abusing trademark law by seeking to prevent competitors from using the term “nitro” to describe nitro-infused shoes,” Brooks said in a statement. “Brooks is not infringing any of Puma’s intellectual property, and all of Puma’s allegations are baseless.”

Puma declined to comment.

This is not the first legal spat for Puma. In-N-Out Burger slapped Puma North America Inc. with a trademark lawsuit in 2019, alleging that the sportswear giant used its federally registered designs without permission. In 2018, Nike filed a suit against Puma for purported patent infringement related to the unauthorized use of its Flyknit, Air and cleat assembly technologies.

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