Skechers is accusing Laforst Shoes Inc. of copying its popular slip-in shoe designs.
The comfort footwear company in mid-August filed a lawsuit in the central district of California accusing Laforst of infringing on five patent’s related to Skechers’ “Slip-in,” or hands-free, sneakers.
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According to the complaint, Skechers’ unique heel design, which wraps around a wearer’s heel, gives its products a “distinctive visual appearance that is highly appealing.” Skechers claims that Laforst began making shoes with this patented heel design once Skechers established it in the market and is now causing Skechers to suffer harm from this alleged infringement.
Skechers said it has sold millions of pairs if its hands-free shoe styles.
“Rather than innovate and develop its own designs and a unique style for its footwear products, Laforst chose to copy Skechers’ innovative design elements,” Skechers alleged in the lawsuit.
FN has reached out to Laforst for a comment.
In a statement, Skechers president Michael Greenberg said that “it is disappointing that Laforst has chosen to copy multiple Skechers-patented designs.”
“While Skechers always prefers to compete in the marketplace rather than the courtroom, the Company has no choice but to seek legal recourse when competitors blatantly tread on our rights,” he added. “Skechers will continue to aggressively police and enforce its proprietary rights to Skechers Hands Free Slip-ins designs and technologies.”
Among Skechers’ products that have recently resonated and driven demand, its Slip-ins shoes have been particularly successful. The hands-free innovation has even resonated with President Joe Biden, who was recently spotted wearing a pair while boarding Air Force One. The brand’s recently launched collaboration with Snoop Dogg also includes these hands-free products. Martha Stewart, who signed on as a Skechers ambassador for the California-based footwear company in March 2022, announced in March of this year that she has co-designed her own versions of some of Skechers’ most popular styles, including its Slip-ins.
In a July call discussing the company’s earnings results for the second quarter, Skechers CEO Robert Greenberg highlighted the brand’s popular Slip-ins shoes. Overall, Skechers beat expectations for sales and profits in the second quarter of 2023, despite a slowdown in the U.S. wholesale market.
This complaint marks Skechers’ latest efforts to protect its patents. In June, Skechers sued Steve Madden for allegedly copying one of its identifying design marks. And in April, Skechers reached a settlement with Hermès to end a patent lawsuit the footwear company brought against the French luxury brand last year, which alleged that the French fashion company infringed on two patents related to Massage Fit sole technology.
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