U.S. shoe giant Skechers came under fire recently after its German rival Adidas filed an infringement suit accusing the company of ripping off its sneaker design. Adidas alleges that Skechers’ Mega Flex shoe is strikingly similar to its own Adidas Springblade concept, which was first introduced in 2013. Both shoes feature a series of blade-like springs attached to the soles of the shoe that are designed to generate both horizontal and vertical energy during movement.
Red Banyan first became aware of this latest dustup thanks to an article by Darren Heitner, who does a great job covering the intersection of law and sports for Forbes.
Adidas didn’t mince words in its statement, saying: “We will not stand by and allow others to blatantly copy our products and infringe on our valuable intellectual property. We are the leader in footwear innovation, design and engineering, creating high performance shoes for athletes. This pattern of unlawful behavior and freeloading in the industry is outrageous and must end. We will take every legal measure possible to protect and defend our innovations.”
Skechers’ PR team has yet to issue the company’s reaction to the infringement allegations. This, however, isn’t the first time the two brands have battled it out in the courtroom. Earlier this year, Adidas won an injunction for a similar case, forcing Skechers to stop selling one of its sneaker models because it was too similar to Adidas’.
As for Skechers’ crisis PR reps, they have their work cut out for them. No brand wants to be accused of copying or stealing from another company, and Skechers now needs to “spring” into action and take a more active role telling its side of the story. Skechers may also want to consider working with litigation PR specialists in order to fight both in court and the court of public opinion.