Entries in footwear (5)


NIKE files a complaint alleging footwear design infringement

NIKE, Inc. filed a complaint against QiLoo International Limited, a Chinese company, on February 6, 2012 (case number 2:2012-cv-00191 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada), alleging infringement of 23 U.S. design patents, listed below.

D361,884        D500,585        D546,541        D578,294

D429,877        D500,917        D547,541        D579,186

D462,830        D523,618        D555,332        D580,636

D475,523        D524,028        D573,338        D580,646

D494,353        D524,529        D573,339        D586,548

D499,247        D532,600        D575,046

All of the patents asserted are directed to shoe designs, and the patent issue dates range from 1995 to 2009.  Images of the allegedly infringing QiLoo footwear are shown below (on the right) next to a figure from the particular design patent asserted (on the left).

The complaint further alleges that QiLoo sold or offered to sell the allegedly infringing shoes at World Shoe Association (WSA) trade shows in Las Vegas, Nevada, and that NIKE hand delivered seven notices to QiLoo at those trade shows from 2007-2011 before bringing suit.

This complaint by NIKE follows less than a week after Skechers filed a complaint to enforce footwear design patents, and following Crocs’ successful enforcement of footwear design patents in both federal court and the International Trade Commission (ITC).



Skechers files a complaint alleging footwear design infringement

Skechers U.S.A., Inc. filed a complaint against The Children’s Place Retail Stores, Inc., on February 2, 2012 (case number 2:2012-cv-00928 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California) alleging that Children’s Place manufactures, imports, sells, and offers to sell a line of footwear that “embodies and infringes the patented invention” disclosed in Skechers’s U.S. Design Patent D571,095.

The design patent at issue claims the ornamental design for a “crystal-covered show toe cap,” shown below.

Figure 1 (left) and Figure 3 (right) from U.S. D 571,095

The complaint alleges that “Children's Place footwear line includes, among others, shoes that have a vulcanized canvas sneaker, a toe cap adorned with crystal, rhinestones, sequins or a plurality of other similar shiny elements, and canvas uppers distinguished by colorful art designs or patterns.” Images of the allegedly infringing footwear, taken from page 8 of the complaint, are shown below.

Examples of allegedly infringing Children's Place footwear

This complaint against Children’s Place follows Croc’s successful enforcement of footwear design patents against Skechers, which we previously covered.


Crocs, Inc. files complaint against Walgreen Co. alleging footwear design infringement

Crocs, Inc. filed a complaint against Walgreen Co. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado on November 11, 2011.  The complaint alleges that Walgreen “manufactures, uses, offers for sale, sells, and/or imports molded footwear throughout the United States” that infringe a design patent (U.S. Patent No. D610,784, hereinafter “the ‘784 patent”) and a utility patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,993,858 B2) assigned to Crocs.  In particular, the complaint alleges that the “Caribbean Cartel” footwear sold by Walgreen are “obvious imitations of well-known and successful Crocs styles.”  Although the specific designs of the alleged infringing footwear are unknown, images of Caribbean Cartel The Lost Pirates footwear, taken from eBay.com (last visited Nov. 16, 2011), are shown below.  Figure 1 from U.S. D610,784 is shown to the right.

Crocs’ most recent complaint, against Walgreen, follows successful enforcement of similar design patents against other defendants, as we previously discussed here and here.  Additionally, the ITC blog has discussed Crocs’ proceedings before the International Trade Commission. 


Vibram asserts minimalist footwear patents

Vibram has filed a complaint against Fila USA Inc. in the District of Massachusetts alleging infringement of Design Patent Nos. D579,181 ("the '181 patent") and D582,134 ("the '134 patent), and U.S. Utility Patent No. 7,805,860.  According to the complaint, Vibram markets the popular FiveFingers footwear products, which fill the need for "footwear ... which allows independent intrinsic movement of the feet, and particularly the toes ... and yet which still provides coverage and protection to the toes... ."

Vibram alleges Fila's skele-toes products infringe the '181 and '134 patents.  A copy of the comparison provided on page 7 of the complaint is reproduced below.

This suit was reported by The Boston Globe on July 18, 2011.  The Globe quoted Fila as stating the allegations in Vibram's complaint are without merit, and quoted Vibram as stating Vibram "pioneered the minimalist footwear category," and "copyists and counterfeiters have come out of the woodwork."

Brian R. Epstein contributed to this post.


Déjà vu - Crocs sues Skechers for Design Infringement

In December of 2008, Crocs Inc. and Skechers Inc. agreed to settle patent litigation (case number 1:08-cv-01450, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado) concerning U.S. D517,789, U.S. D564,208 and U.S. D564,207.  That patent litigation concerned a line of slip-on foam clogs made by Skechers, which Crocs alleged infringed the patents.

On May 20, 2011, Crocs filed a complaint and initiated a new suit against Skechers, case number 1:11-cv-01330, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.  Crocs alleges the Swifts line introduced in the summer of 2010 by Skechers is an “obvious imitation” of Crocs’ original shoe design for the CROCBANDTM model footwear, which is protected by U.S. D610,784.  Crocs also alleges Skechers breached a settlement agreement of September 23, 2010, stemming from Crocs’ contact with Skechers’ around the time the Swifts line was introduced.