Adidas AG’s effort to block Skechers USA Inc. has been rejected by a federal Judge this week. Adidas were hoping to prevent Skechers from selling athletic shoes that they alleged copied the ‘springblade’ concept. U.S. District Judge Michael Simon in Portland decided Skechers did not willingly infringe the two Adidas patents by selling cheaper ‘Mega Blade’ shoes. Adidas’ request for preliminary injunction to halt sales was also rejected by the judge.
In its original lawsuit last July, Adidas claimed Skechers copied “leaf spring” elements of its Springblade midsole, which propelled runners forward and improve performance. According to the sports giant, this enabled Skechers to get free technology information without the development costs, and thus harmed Adidas’ reputation and market share. Adidas had launched Springblade in 2013, at $180 a pair.
Judge Simon, however, found no willful infringement because Skechers began selling Mega Blade sneakers one year before the Adidas patents were issued in May 2016. The judge also stated that an injunction was inappropriate because Adidas did not show it faced irreparable harm without one, or that it was likely to win the case.
“Adidas’s evidence of irreparable injury is too conclusory and speculative,” and the company “fails to make a persuasive showing that the Mega Blade shoe has had an appreciable adverse effect on the Springblade shoe,” Simon wrote.
Both decisions are dated Monday, and the decision on the preliminary injunction was made public on Wednesday.
Adidas has also sued Skechers for having allegedly copied the design for its classic white Stan Smith tennis sneakers. A trial is scheduled for April 2018, court records show.