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Adidas loses its bid to ban alleged knock-offs


A model wearing a pair of Adidas Springblade runners

A model wearing a pair of Adidas Springblade runners

A model wearing a pair of Adidas Springblade runners

A US federal judge has rejected Adidas effort to block Skechers USA from selling athletic runners that it said copied its "Springblade" concept.

In two decisions this week, US District Judge Michael Simon in Portland, Oregon said Skechers did not wilfully infringe two Adidas patents by selling its less expensive "Mega Blade" runners, and denied Adidas' request for a preliminary injunction to halt sales.

The decisions are a blow to Adidas, which like some rivals often turns to US courts to stop rivals from selling products it considers knock-offs.

In its lawsuit last July, the German company said Skechers copied "leaf spring" elements of its Springblade mid-sole, meant to propel people running forward and improve performance.

It said this enabled Skechers to get a free ride on its technology without the development costs, and harmed Adidas' market share by cutting into Springblade's pricing power, "coolness" and "cachet".

Adidas had launched Springblade in 2013, at $180 a pair. Simon, however, found no wilful infringement because Skechers began selling Mega Blade sneakers one year before the Adidas patents were issued in May 2016.

"Adidas's evidence of irreparable injury is too conclusory and speculative," and the company "fails to make a persuasive showing that the Mega Blade shoe has had an appreciable adverse effect on the Springblade shoe," Judge Simon wrote. (Reuters)

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