Adidas Takes Payless Suit to Canada

Company seeks to protect its trademarked three-stripe design.


The Adidas-Payless litigation continues — this time north of the border.

Adidas AG and Adidas Canada Ltd. have filed a lawsuit against Topeka, Kan.-based Collective Brand Inc.’s Payless ShoeSource in the Federal Court of Canada. As with Adidas' previous allegations against Payless in the U.S., the suit centers around what Adidas claims is infringement of its trademarked three-stripe design.

In June 2008, Adidas was awarded $305 million in a trademark lawsuit against Payless in a Portland, Ore., Federal Court after the dispute raged for more than six years. The award was later reduced to $65.3 million, an amount that Adidas representatives claim is still the largest amount ever awarded by a court in a U.S. trademark case.

Payless is not the only company who has felt the heat from Adidas. Wal-Mart and Target are two retailers who have also come under fire for selling designs evoking similar striped motifs. Wal-Mart has been sued three times by the athletic company, and the two most recently came to an undisclosed settlement in September 2008. Target tangled with Adidas most recently in October of this year.

Adidas issued a statement on Thursday saying that while the company would have “preferred to resolve the dispute in Canada without the need for litigation, it has been unable to do so” and has “filed this lawsuit to protect its rights in Canada.”

Adidas first used the three-stripe signature in 1952 and trademarked it in 1994.


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