Payless Shoes Takes a Beating from Adidas

Don’t even think about creating shoes with Adidas style stripes on the sides. Payless Shoe Stores learned that the hard way, as U of MN law professor, William McGeveran, explains on the “Info/Law” blog:

The Oregonian reports that Adidas won an astronomical $305 million trademark infringement verdict against discount retailer Payless Shoes this morning. Trademark blogger Marty Schwimmer can’t think of another infringement verdict even close to this size, and neither can I. Most trademark litigators would consider any case worth more than $25 million a very big one.

What surprises me is that the jury found Payless to be infringing on Adidas’ trademark even when they used 2 stripes or four (pdf) rather than the 3 that define the Adidas brand. While the intent is clearly there to ride on the Adidas brand is clear to me, aren’t knock-off brands like the ones at Payless simply a gateway to the major brands? If so, could knocking Payless out of the knock-off shoe business actually hurt the demand for Adidas long term?

3 thoughts on “Payless Shoes Takes a Beating from Adidas”

  1. I don’t know if this would hurt Adidas in the long term. It would have to be big. Does Adidas generate $305 million in profits as a result of the gateway knockoffs?

  2. Pingback: Death of a Politician « The Mississippifarian
  3. Come on people, everyone on the planet knows adidas is three stripes. They are one of the oldest brands out there. You don’t go to a Payless store and expect to purchase name brands such as adidas, Nike, etc. If you get fooled by a two-striped shoe in a Payless store, you ride the short bus.

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