7 March 2022TrademarksMuireann Bolger

Adidas hits Fashion Nova with fresh suit over Stan Smith shoes

Adidas America has targeted Fashion Nova in a lawsuit accusing its rival of infringing the trade dress of its Stan Smith sneaker.

The sports retailer filed the complaint at the US District Court for the District of Oregon on March 3.

According to the lawsuit, Fashion Nova infringed the trade dress of the Adidas Stan Smith sneaker with a copycat version, comprising a white leather tennis shoe with three rows of perforations and defined stitching across its sides.

The complaint alleged that Fashion Nova intentionally knocked off the Stan Smith trade dress during a related trademark lawsuit over Fashion Nova’s infringement of Adidas’ three-stripe mark.

A long-running dispute

Adidas first filed a complaint in May 2019, alleging that Fashion Nova was actively and intentionally infringing the three-stripe mark on numerous items of apparel. That lawsuit is currently in the expert discovery phase.

Adidas has now accused Fashion Nova of engaging in another “egregious infringement” by offering an alleged Stan Smith knock-off, which it argued “imitates every element of the Stan Smith trade dress and has an overall appearance that is confusingly similar to the Stan Smith trade dress”.

In the early 1970s, Adidas created a new tennis shoe and named it “Stan Smith” in honour of acclaimed American tennis champion Stan Smith, who at the time was the number one tennis player in the world. “Since its inception, the iconic Stan Smith shoe featured the distinctive Stan Smith trade dress, which leverages Adidas's famous three-stripe mark but presented that mark in a unique and distinctive manner consisting of parallel rows of perforations,” said the complaint

Adidas said that it has spent millions of dollars promoting the shoes since their introduction 50 years ago and that the Stan Smith shoe has become one of the best-selling shoes of all time, having sold more than 40 million pairs worldwide and millions of pairs in the US.

‘Striking similarities’

The sports brand further argued that any reasonable observer could see the striking similarities between the Stan Smith trade dress and Fashion Nova’s knock-off.

The complaint held that Fashion Nova was aware that the sale of the disputed shoes would likely cause confusion among consumers and dilute Adidas's rights in the Stan Smith trade dress.

“Indeed, on information and belief, Fashion Nova knowingly, willfully, intentionally, and maliciously adopted and used substantially indistinguishable and confusingly similar imitations of the Stan Smith trade dress,” insisted Adidas.

Fashion Nova intentionally designed and manufactured footwear bearing Adidas's Stan Smith trade dress to mislead and deceive consumers into believing the footwear was manufactured, sold, authorised, or licensed by Adidas, it added.

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