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Adidas and Skechers embroiled in business litigation

Many people in Jacksonville have a favorite brand of sneaker, and oftentimes their opinion on what sneaker is the best sneaker is influenced by what sneakers their favorite athletes wear. Footwear companies understand this, and will attempt to take steps to ensure that certain athletes or teams use their products. However, this business practice can sometimes lead to business litigation.

The footwear company Skechers USA Inc. has filed a lawsuit against competitor Adidas America Inc. alleging Adidas engaged in unfair competition and false advertising. The situation involves a bribery scandal in the college basketball world.

According to Skechers, the lawful way for a shoe company to have college basketball players wear the company's shoes is through sponsoring higher education sports programs. However, Sketchers claims that Adidas' unlawful bribery scheme has given it an unfair edge against its competitors, which have suffered harm as a result. Sketchers reports that it suffered over $75,000 in damages for lost sales, an increase in the cost of advertisements and more. A spokesperson for Adidas stated the lawsuit was frivolous and ought to be dismissed.

In a separate action, Adidas has sued Skechers for trademark infringement. A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge ruled in favor of an injunction that prohibited Skechers from selling a certain type of sneaker. The judge stated that there was evidence in support of the argument that Skechers designed a shoe similar to one designed by Adidas with the intention to cause others to confuse the Skechers shoe with the Adidas one. The judge pointed out that Skechers used metadata tags that would make it so a consumer who performed an Internet search for the Adidas shoe would be pointed to the webpage of the Skechers shoe.

Time will tell how these lawsuits will play out. However, lawsuits such as these do not always need to involve major corporations. Even small business owners may find themselves in a situation where they have suffered from unfair competition, false advertising or trademark infringement or are being accused of committing such infractions. Therefore, it is important that business owners facing a lawsuit take the steps necessary to understand how the law will apply to their unique case.

Source: footwearnews.com, "Skechers Lawsuit Claims Adidas College Bribery Scandal Hurt Its Business," Jennie Bell, May 10, 2018

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