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Injunction upheld against Skechers design 'nearly identical' to Adidas shoe

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on May 10 upheld an injunction blocking Skechers USA Inc. from selling one style of tennis shoe that looks like adidas AG's best-seller Stan Smith design but reversed a similar injunction for a different Skechers shoe.

U.S. Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen wrote in her decision that Skechers intended to confuse customers with the "nearly identical" Onix shoe, adding that Skechers redirected consumers who searched for "Adidas Stan Smith" to the Onix website. The decision to uphold the first injunction was approved by the panel on a 3-0 vote.

The same panel, however, did not uphold an injunction against a similar shoe — Skechers Cross Court. The panel, in a 2-1 vote, said there was not enough evidence to suggest that the shoe would dilute Adidas' reputation or cause "irreparable harm" to the Stan Smith brand.

"Adidas did not set forth evidence probative of Sketchers' allegedly less favorable reputation," Nguyen wrote.