Make us your home page
Instagram

Jury steps on Payless over Adidas look-alikes

Matt Rubel, president and CEO of Payless owner Collective Brands, said his company would fight a judgment that Adidas won this month. “Our designs do not infringe the Adidas designs,” he wrote. He called the verdict “unjustified” and “excessive.”

Associated Press (2006)

Matt Rubel, president and CEO of Payless owner Collective Brands, said his company would fight a judgment that Adidas won this month. “Our designs do not infringe the Adidas designs,” he wrote. He called the verdict “unjustified” and “excessive.”

In the world of fashion knockoffs, imitation is a form of flattery. Then there is Adidas' smackdown of Payless ShoeSource.

The world's second-biggest sports shoemaker just won $305-million from the nation's largest shoe chain in the fattest intellectual property judgment ever.

The case gives the shakes to retailers who sell copies of what they think are ubiquitous sneaker designs at a fraction of the price.

What makes the case stand out: Payless tried two- and four-stripe logos to get around Adidas' trademarked triple stripe.

A jury in Portland, Ore., nailed Payless for copying the Adidas trade dress (an overall "look" built over years) down to such features as flat-soles, a rubber toe and a colored heel pad.

"The jury gave an extraordinary reward because it was so deliberate — they copied big sellers and obscure," said Susan Scafidi, who teaches fashion law at Fordham University.

Indeed, Payless, based in Kansas, pocketed $400-million from 250 Adidas knockoff styles in two years. Payless says it will fight the judgment.

Apparel and shoe companies sue one another all the time for ripping off trade dress. But it's testament to the power of brand names that jurors unanimously backed Adidas. Given a choice between cheap copies and high-priced originals, they chose a promise of brand quality.

Payless is one in a string of retailers Adidas challenged. Don't expect a jury to hear another case. Kmart settled a week later. Wal-Mart goes to trial this fall. Perhaps K-Swiss, which makes a five-stripe sneaker similar to Adidas, should lawyer up.

Mark Albright can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8252.

Jury steps on Payless over Adidas look-alikes 05/26/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Equifax CEO Richard Smith steps down amid hacking scandal

    Personal Finance

    The chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will retire, effective Tuesday, according to a statement by the company.

    Richard Smith, chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will reportedly retire effective Tuesday.
[File photo: Joey Ivansco/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP]
  2. Bass Pro acquires Cabela's for $4 billion

    Retail

    Bass Pro Shops has acquired competitor Cabela's for a reported $4 billion. Bass Pro indicated it is seeking to appeal to all "outdoor enthusiasts" with the move, roping in hunting customers from Cabela's.

    Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela's for $4 billion, Bass Pro announced Tuesday. | [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  3. Tampa International named among least expensive airports

    News

    TAMPA — Florida airports apparently have a knack for getting it done cheaply.

    According to RewardExpert, Tampa International Airport is the fifth least expensive domestic airport. 
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
 file photo]

  4. Tampa-based vXchnge secures $200M loan to expand operations

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Tampa-based vXchnge, which operates data centers in 14 metro areas, has secured a loan for roughly $200 million for "major expansions and enhancements."

    Tampa-based vXchnge, a data center provider, secured a $200 million loan. Pictured is CEO Keith Olsen. | [Courtesy of vXchnge]
  5. Allegiant flight makes emergency landing in California after smoke fills cabin

    Airlines

    FRESNO, Calif. — Smoke filled the cabin of an Allegiant Air jet after it landed at a California airport on Monday, forcing coughing passengers to cover their faces with shirts and firefighters to board the plane, authorities said.

    This frame from mobile phone video shows smoke inside an Allegiant Air jet after it landed at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in California's Central Valley, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. Smoke filled the cabin of an Allegiant Air jet after it landed at the airport on Monday, forcing coughing passengers to cover their faces with shirts and firefighters to board the plane, authorities said. Allegiant said no passengers or any of the six crew members were injured. [Estevan Moreno via AP]