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Image: adidas

Adidas is upping the ante in an existing battle against Fashion Nova with a new lawsuit. On the heels of filing a trademark infringement and dilution complaint against the Southern California-based fast fashion giant back in May 2019 for allegedly infringing its famed three-stripe trademark by way of an array of garments, a case that is still underway in federal court in Oregon, adidas has lodged a new complaint against Fashion Nova. This time adidas is accusing Fashion Nova of trade dress infringement, unfair competition, and unfair and deceptive trade practices in the same court in connection with its sale of a sneaker that allegedly co-opts the design of its Stan Smith, which adidas claims is “one of the most iconic shoes in history.”  

In the complaint that it filed on March 2, adidas alleges that “recently – and in the middle of a related trademark lawsuit over Fashion Nova’s infringement of the three-stripe mark – Fashion Nova intentionally knocked off the Stan Smith trade dress.” According to adidas, the Stan Smith trade dress consists of a combination of “nonfunctional” and source-identifying elements, namely, “a classic tennis-shoe profile with a white leather upper, three rows of perforations (in the pattern of the famous three-stripe mark), a defined stitching across the sides of the shoe enclosing the perforations, a raised mustache-shaped colored heel patch (which often is green), and a flat tonal white rubber outsole.” 

Despite having “a multitude of alternative sneaker designs they could use,” competitors “mimic elements of the iconic Stan Smith trade dress [in an] to attempt to trade off its tremendous goodwill and siphon away sales from adidas,” the sportswear titan claims. And that is precisely what has happened here, per adidas, which contends that Fashion Nova has “committed another egregious infringement” by offering up a sneaker that “imitates every element of the Stan Smith trade dress” (and seemingly, some of the elements of Alexander McQueen’s Oversized Sneaker) and that “has an overall appearance that is confusingly similar to the Stan Smith trade dress.”

Fashion Nova lawsuit

Adidas asserts that Fashion Nova was “aware that the sale of the Stan Smith knock-off would likely cause confusion among consumers and would dilute adidas’s rights in the Stan Smith trade dress,” and opted to sell the sneaker anyway, thereby, showing “a callous disregard for adidas’s rights.” (It is worth noting that while adidas does not make a trademark dilution claim in its complaint, it is seeking, among other things, to enjoin the fast fashion company from “using any trademark, trade dress, name, logo, design, or source designation of any kind on or in connection with [its] goods that dilutes or is likely to dilute the distinctiveness of adidas’s trademarks, trade dresses, names, or logos.”)

Setting out claims of trade dress infringement, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, adidas argues that it is likely to prevail in its claims, as the same court previously sided with it in a trademark matter centering on the Stan Smith trade dress. In this vein, Adidas cites a determination from the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in a case that it previously filed against Skechers, which held that adidas was “likely to succeed in establishing its right to enforce . . . the unregistered Stan Smith trade dress [and] also likely to succeed in showing that the Skechers shoes infringe adidas’s marks and trade dress.” The same is true here, adidas argues, asserting that “any reasonable observer could see the striking similarities between the Stan Smith trade dress and Fashion Nova’s knock-off. Indeed, in many ways the Fashion Nova knock-off is even closer to the Stan Smith trade dress than the version Skechers sold six years ago.” 

In addition to citing pointing to potential confusion in connection with its infringement claim, in making a claim of unfair and deceptive trade practices, adidas also asserts that Fashion Nova “has been and is passing off its goods as those of adidas,” and that such allegedly unauthorized use of “confusingly similar imitations of the Stan Smith trade dress has caused and is likely to cause substantial injury to the public and to adidas.”

With this in mind, adidas is seeking injunctive relief to permanently bar Fashion Nova from “marketing or selling footwear using or bearing confusingly similar imitations of the Stan Smith trade dress,” monetary damages, and an order requiring Fashion Nova to disgorge all of its profits from its sales of the alleged Stan Smith knock-off.  

Fashion Nova declined to comment on the new lawsuit.

The case is Adidas America, Inc v. Fashion Nova, Inc., 3:22-cv-00344 (D. Or.).