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X Marks the Patent Infringement? Skechers Brings Suit to Protect Treasured Shoe Design

A recently filed court case demonstrates the ever-increasing competiveness of the fashion industry. Skechers U.S.A., Inc., alleged in its complaint that Perry Ellis International, Inc., and Shoe Confession LLC are selling a copied version of Skechers’ patented Skechers Go Run shoe. Skechers has filed suit against Perry Ellis and Shoe Confession, claiming patent infringement, trade dress infringement, and unfair competition, and is seeking to force Perry Ellis and Shoe Confession to stop making and selling the allegedly infringing merchandise. According to the complaint, Skechers’ shoe design is well-known: the company has spent more than $10 million in the last year promoting, marketing, and advertising the shoe, and it has sold hundreds of thousands of pairs.

The primary claims in the lawsuit stem from Skechers’ “new and unique” design on the sole bottom and outside periphery of the Skechers Go Run shoe. The design, for which Skechers owns a number of patents, features ornamental patterns of various-sized “nubs” and cleats, including a series of large yellow nubs that form the shape of an “X” on the sole.

Photographs submitted by Skechers to the Court show the patterns of nubs and cleats on each shoe, including, says Skechers, the patented X-shaped pattern on the center of the Perry Ellis sole.

A company that is developing new products must carefully design those products either to ensure they do not infringe the patent and trademark rights of its competitors or to be prepared to defend its design in court. Arent Fox is monitoring this case for further developments. Please contact the listed attorneys with questions.