Adidas has escalated its already existing legal battle with Skechers USA over athletic sneaker designs, filing a patent infringement lawsuit against the American footwear brand. In its complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon on Monday, adidas alleges that Skechers willfully infringed two patents related to adidas' Springblade, design a three-year-old design whose midsole includes blades meant to help propel runners forward, with its similar "Mega Flex" shoe.
The German sportswear giant, which has been on a bit of a litigation spree over the past year, in particular, claims that Skechers developed its Mega Flex shoes, including the Mega Blade 2.0 and Mega Blade 3.0, as blatant "takedowns" copies of the Springblade technology without the cost of creating it. "This pattern of unlawful behavior and freeloading in the industry is outrageous and must end," adidas, said in a statement after the lawsuit's filing. "We will take every legal measure possible to protect and defend our innovations." Skechers spokeswoman Jennifer Clay said the Manhattan Beach, California-based company does not comment on pending litigation.
Adidas' lawsuit, the company's second lawsuit against Skechers in federal court in Oregon in less than a year, seeks an injunction against any infringements and treble damages.
The latest suit comes on the heels of a victory for adidas this spring in connection with the Springblade shoe. In April, adidas was handed a favorable ruling in a multi-million dollar trademark and patent infringement lawsuit in connection with its Springblade running shoes and Robert M. Lyden, an Oregon-based athlete and inventor, who has been on a bit of a suing spree with the market’s largest sportswear makers. Lyden filed suit against adidas in October 2014, alleging that the German sportswear giant infringed a number of his federally protected intellectual property rights, including two trademarks and three patents for the Springshoe.
Lyden alleged in his complaint that adidas copied a number of elements implicit in his Springshoe design, which he claims he told adidas about and manufactured in 2002 in a very limited run with Nike before adidas began selling its allegedly infringing styles. Adidas responded to the suit by challenging the validity of Lyden’s existing intellectual property rights, ultimately, winning the case on all counts.
The case is Adidas America Inc et al v Skechers USA Inc, U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, No. 16-01400.