Adidas settles trademark suit against Kmart

Published: 5/8/2008 12:28 PM

Adidas AG settled its trademark-infringement lawsuit against Sears Holdings Corp.'s Kmart unit, just two days after the German apparel maker was awarded $304.6 million in a similar case over stripes on shoes.

The settlement was filed yesterday in federal court in Portland, Ore., and a trial scheduled for July was canceled. Kmart was accused of copying adidas's three-stripe motif by selling athletic shoes with sets of two and four stripes. Details of the accord weren't available.

"You can be assured that Adidas wouldn't settle any case pursuant to terms where someone could produce athletic shoes with two parallel stripes; four stripes even more so," Jerre Swann, a lawyer for adidas with the firm Kilpatrick Stockton in Atlanta, said in an interview.

Adidas, the world's second-biggest sporting-goods maker, sued the unit of Hoffman Estates-based Sears in 2005. A jury in the same court on May 5 issued a $304.6 million verdict against Payless ShoeSource owner Collective Brands Inc. for selling sneakers with sets of two and four parallel stripes.

The three-stripe design was first used by adidas more than 50 years ago. The company has filed about three dozen such cases against Steven Madden Ltd., Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., Target Corp., Nordstrom Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. among others. Most cases settled before going to trial.

Adidas, based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in 2005, accusing the world's biggest retailer of infringing its shoe designs. That case is scheduled to go to jury trial in October in Portland, where adidas's North American unit is based.

Sears spokesman Chris Brathwaite declined to comment. Adidas spokeswoman Andrea Corso didn't immediately return a call for comment.