Collective Brands Inc. on Tuesday said a $305 million verdict against the footwear maker and retailer related to an Adidas lawsuit is “excessive and unjustified.” On Monday, a federal jury in Portland has ordered Payless Shoesource Inc. to shell out $304.6 million for infringing on Adidas America Inc.'s three-stripe trademark and shoe styles.
A nine-person jury in U.S. District Court late Monday unanimously awarded Adidas AG's' U.S. subsidiary $30.6 million in actual damages, $137 million in punitive damages and $137 million in Payless profits, according to a transcript of the proceeding.
Trademark attorneys believe it to be the largest award ever in a trademark-infringement case, surpassing a $143 million judgment in 1999 over an antibiotic.
The verdict stems from a 2001 lawsuit in which Adidas sued Payless Shoes, now called Collective Brands Inc., over its trademark three-stripes logo. The stripes in the footwear for sale by Payless bore “confusingly similar imitations” of Adidas three-stripe trademark, the original filing stated.
“We are very pleased with this result,” Adidas America general counsel Paul Ehrlich said in a statement. “We have been building the Adidas brand for over 60 years, and this verdict supports the value our society places on protecting innovation and quality brands.”
Collective Brands said it is assessing the impact of the verdict and plans to ask the court to set aside the verdict. If that is not granted the Topeka, Kan.-based company said it in a statement it “intends to take all necessary steps to overturn it.”