Skechers Disputes Crocs Lawsuit

Crocs Inc. sued Skechers USA Inc., accusing it of selling knockoffs of its patented designs. But Skechers responded in a statement categorically denying all allegations, and called the lawsuit “nothing more than a never-ending attempt by Crocs to monopolize the molded footwear market by bullying competitors and customers and misusing the United States Patent Office and federal courthouse…”


The lawsuit by Crocs, filed in federal court in Denver, accuses Skechers of selling “confusing similar imitations” of its clog footwear designs that are fully patented and trademarked. The complaint also alleges that Skechers' Cali Bear logo, a depiction of a bear, infringes Crocs' Crocodile logo, particularly since it is positioned in the same spot on the shoes. Finally, Crocs claims that Skechers purposely ran a mobile campaign to promote the Cali clogs in Boulder, CO, where Crocs’ headquarters are located.


In response, Philip G. Paccione, general counsel and EVP of Skechers, in a statement called Croc's lawsuit “completely without merit.” Regarding the main charge, the designs at issue in this case, said Paccione, “are distinguishable from Crocs' patents and there is no possibility that anyone will be confused by the Skechers designs.”

 

He also noted that Skechers has many of its own design patents in molded footwear, including some mentioned in the case. “Moreover, Skechers footwear and packaging are prominently branded with the world famous Skechers name and trademarks at every turn, which Crocs conveniently ignores.”


On the charge that Skechers's Cali Bear mimics Crocs crocodile, “even a cursory review of the two animal marks demonstrates that the allegations are ridiculous,” said Paccione. He also noted that Skechers has had a loyal following in Colorado “long before Crocs even existed and we have an absolute right to” conduct mobile campaigns in the region.

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Skechers Disputes Crocs Lawsuit

Crocs Inc. has sued Skechers USA Inc., accusing it of selling footwear that copies patented and trademarked designs. Skechers responded in a statement categorically denying all allegations, and called the lawsuit “nothing more than a never-ending attempt by Crocs to monopolize the molded footwear market by bullying competitors and customers and misusing the United States Patent Office and federal courthouse.”…


 


According to a complaint filed in federal court in Denver, Crocs sued over foam clogs sold by Skechers under names including “Low Tide,” “Gypsies,” “Wooly Bully” and “Waterbug.” According to the lawsuit, the shoes imitate looks protected by three design patents. Also, the complaint alleges, among other claims, that Skechers' Cali Bear logo, which is a depiction of a bear, infringes Crocs' Crocodile logo.


 


On July 16, Philip G. Paccione, general counsel and EVP of Skechers in a statement called Croc's lawsuit “completely without merit” and said the company will vigorously defend itself against the allegations.


 


“Among the outlandish allegations is that Skechers' Cali Bear logo is confusingly similar to Crocs' Crocodile logo, and that advertising Skechers ' products in Boulder, Colorado somehow dilutes the value of Crocs' trademarks and appropriates Crocs' goodwill. Even a cursory review of the two animal marks demonstraes that the allegations are ridiculous,” said Paccione.


 


“As far as advertising in Boulder, Colorado, Skechers has had a loyal following in Colorado long before Crocs even existed and we have an absolute right to do that. We believe that this lawsuit is nothing more than a never-ending attempt by Crocs to monopolize the molded footwear market by bullying competitors and customers and misusing the United States Patent Office and federal courthouse. Skechers prefers to compete in the market place through the quality of its products and image.”


 


Paccione continued, “Crocs allegations on the shoe designs will fare no better. As owners of numerous famous trademarks and patents in the footwear industry, Skechers respects the intellectual property of other brands and spends tens of millions of dollars each year to design and prominently brand and distinguish its own products from competitors. The designs at issue in this case are distinguishable from Crocs' patents and there is no possibility that anyone will be confused by the Skechers designs. Indeed, Skechers has many of its own design patents in the molded footwear category, including some covering the very styles at issue in this case. Moreover, Skechers footwear and packaging are prominently branded with the world famous Skechers name and trademarks at every turn, which Crocs conveniently ignores.”

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Thomas J. Ryan

Thomas J. Ryan Senior Business Editor | SGB Media tryan@sgbonline.com | 917.375.4699

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