Brooks Sports, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Skechers U.S.A., Inc., alleging the company infringed on its ‘BEAST’ trademark used on Brooks running shoes since 1992.

“Three decades after Brooks’ released its BEAST running shoe, Skechers has released its own running shoe bearing Brooks’ proprietary BEAST mark,” Brooks wrote in the complaint filed with The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (Seattle).

Brooks said Skechers’ use of the SPEED BEAST mark “on similar products, marketed and sold through similar channels, is highly likely to cause consumer confusion and to deceive the public regarding the source, sponsorship, connection, association, or affiliation between Brooks’ BEAST running shoe and Skechers’ SPEED BEAST running shoe.”

Brooks said BEAST is “one of Brooks’ most enduring models,” having undergone over three decades of iterations. The BEAST shoe model also won awards, including being named one of the 40 Best Running Shoes of the Last 40 Years by Road Runner Sports.

Brooks noted that in March 2023, Skechers began selling the SPEED BEAST, and, like Brooks, displayed the name SPEED BEAST on the tongue of the shoe, “where consumers expect to find source-identifying information,” Brooks charged.

“Skechers’ infringing use of Brooks’ BEAST mark is blatant,” Brooks said in its complaint. “Skechers uses Brooks’ entire BEAST mark—paired only with the word SPEED—on the same goods: running shoes. SPEED is a common adjective used in connection with running shoes. Accordingly, SPEED BEAST and BEAST have a similar sound, appearance, connotation, and commercial impression when used for footwear. When combining the entirety of Brooks’ BEAST mark with the adjective SPEED, the resulting mark is one that looks, sounds and conveys the mistaken impression of being an extension of Brooks’ well-known line of BEAST running shoes.”

Brooks also charged that Skechers’ appropriation of Brooks’ rights in the BEAST mark “was no accident.” Brooks noted that in June 2022, Skechers disputed Brooks’ use of the number “5” to designate the generation of certain shoe styles. Brooks said Skechers’ claim was that the number “5” infringed various trademarks for the letter “S” that were owned by Skechers.

Brooks wrote in its complaint, “Skechers scoured Brooks’ offerings and found six models of shoes that bore a number “5” because they were models in the 5th iteration of their respective product lines. The parties resolved that dispute. But then, less than a year after carefully reviewing Brooks’ product line in relation to the “5” dispute, Skechers released its SPEED BEAST running shoe, intending to capitalize on the goodwill of one of Brooks’ staple products—the BEAST.”

Brook further said Skechers’ running shoes compete directly with Brooks, noting that they’re sold through the same trade channels and marketed through the same channels. Brooks noted that a search for “Beast” on brought up BEAST models from both Brooks and Skechers, with a Google search resulting in the same outcome.

Brooks also said it had “invested time, money and other resources” in building its reputation for running footwear, making it the top-selling running shoe brand in specialty running stores since 2011 and the top-selling performance running shoe brand at national chains for five consecutive quarters. Those investments include spending over $48 million on research and development to drive footwear innovation over the last ten years and more than $430 million on marketing since 2016. 

Brooks added, “These efforts were not in vain; industry commentators have repeatedly recognized and praised Brooks for its athletic footwear, and Brooks products have been named Editor’s Choice “best running shoe,” “best running shorts,” “best sports bra,” “best workout hoodie,” and more from OutsideMen’s HealthWomen’s Health, Fit Bottomed Girls, Trail RunnerRunner’s World, Trail Sisters, Esquire, and Self Magazines.”

Brooks claims Skechers is more known for comfort, “family” footwear rather than performance running footwear and seeks to “ride the coattails of Brooks and profit from Brooks’ long-standing trademark, BEAST, and Brooks’ hard-earned reputation for building premium products for runners.”

Brooks is seeking an order leading Skechers to stop using the BEAST trademark on running shoes, recall all products sold under or bearing the SPEED BEAST mark, donate on terms agreeable to Brooks, or otherwise destroy SPEED BEAST merchandise. Brooks also seeks an award of damages, including profits Skechers received on SPEED BEAST sales and legal costs.

At press time, Skechers could not be reached to comment on the lawsuit.

Photos courtesy Skechers