Reebok is taking action against Autry for allegedly selling “high-priced knockoffs” of its sneakers.
In a new lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, the Authentic Brands Group-owned athletic brand is suing Autry International and Autry USA for allegedly copying several of its trademarks and creating confusion in the market.
Here are five things to know about Reebok’s lawsuit against Autry.
Which Reebok Trademarks are Allegedly Being Infringed?
In last week’s complaint, Reebok stated that Autry has not only “blatantly” copied its Window Box Mark in all of its shoes, but also its Crosscheck and Stripecheck marks.
“Autry has done, and continues to do so by developing, advertising, promoting, offering to sell, and selling shoes that all bear Reebok’s exact Window Box Mark,” Reebok stated in the complaint. “Autry has likewise escalated its infringement of Reebok’s rights through the introduction of its ‘Open Mid’ shoe, which uses not only an identical Window Box Mark but also a mark that is identical and/or virtually identical to Reebok’s Crosscheck and Stripecheck Marks.”
In addition, Reebok said in the complaint that it sometimes partners with other companies to allow them to use the Window Box Mark in connection with a collaboration. The brand noted Global Citizen, Pleasures and Maharishi as recent collaborators that used the mark. But as no such affiliation or partnership exists, Reebok stated that Autry’s use of the Window Box Mark with its own branding is creating confusion in the market.
Reebok is Claiming Autry is Creating Unfair Competition
Reebok said in court documents that Autry “intentionally and deliberately” targets the same and/or similar consumers and prospective consumers as Reebok by selling its shoes in direct competition with Reebok through the same and/or similar channels of trade.
Further, Reebok added that Autry has purchased advertisements targeted directly at the social media accounts and websites visited by consumers and potential consumers of Reebok’s shoes, while also selling its shoes at some of Reebok’s same retail partners.
“By copying Reebok’s iconic Stripecheck, Crosscheck, and Window Box Marks, Autry therefore guarantees that consumers encountering the ‘infringing shoes’ either at point of sale or in the post-sale context are substantially likely to be confused, mistaken, and/or deceived as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, and/or other relationship between Reebok and its products,” the complaint said.
Reebok Calls Out Autry’s Use of the American Flag
Reebok added in the suit that Autry’s use of its Flag Logo inside the Window Box Mark “does nothing to alleviate” the likelihood of confusion.
“In fact, conclusive of Autry’s blatant copying is that all of Autry’s knock-off shoes simply remove the Reebok Union Jack mark that is often (but not always) inside the Window Box Mark on Reebok shoes, and include in its place a confusingly similar, red, white, and blue, United States flag,” the complaint said.
Reebok further pushed the fact that Autry’s use of the United States flag in its Flag Logo is “wholly misleading” as the brand is an Italian-based entity that manufactures its shoes in Asia. “Autry’s additional usage of United States flag designs on packaging, attempts to mislead consumers into believing that the shoes they are purchasing are made in the United States, when in fact that notion is materially false,” Reebok noted in the complaint.
How Autry Is Allegedly Damaging Reebok’s Business
In the complaint, Reebok said that Autry “tries to skip the significant investments required to develop original, authentic, and high-quality shoes,” and instead attempts to “free-ride” off Reebok’s reputation and popularity, all while “deceiving” its customers and “infringing” Reebok’s protected trademarks.
Reebok goes further to call Autry’s business strategy “unlawful” and cites many message boards and social media comments by consumers allegedly recognizing Autry’s infringing activities. Reebok also cited negative consumer ratings and feedback that Autry receives on social media regarding the physical quality of its shoes.
“Any defects, or quality issues, relating to Autry’s infringing shoes are likely to negatively impact Reebok’s reputation as a result of a mistaken impression that the infringing shoes emanate from, or are affiliated, with Reebok,” the complaint said.
Asked for comment by FN, Reebok’s parent company declined to comment at this time.
What Reebok Is Seeking
According to the complaint, Reebok is requesting the Court to permanently restrict Autry from advertising, marketing, promoting, offering for sale, distributing, or selling the alleged infringing shoes that use its Stripecheck, Crosscheck, and/or Window Box Marks.
Reebok is also requesting that Autry to recall all of its infringing footwear and to deliver all infringing items to be destroyed.
Monetarily, Reebok is also seeking any and all profits derived by Autry from the sale or distribution of the infringing footwear, damages from Autry’s alleged acts, and attorneys’ fees.