Skechers Sues Steve Madden for Patent Infringement

Steve Madden is in legal trouble, again. This time the shoe company has been sued by Skechers over claims that Steve Madden infringed on several of Skechers’ patents. The infringing patents are designs that are used in the Skechers Go Walk shoes.

Skechers claims that the Setta shoe in the Steve by Steve Madden collection infringed patents that govern the details of the Go Walk shoes’ uppers, outsoles, and bottoms. Skechers claims that selling the Setta style, damages Skechers business because the shoes are being sol alongside each other and causing confusion amongst the consumers.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 3.34.24 PM Skechers Go Walk via skechers.com

Oftentimes, a fashion brand typically sues based on a claim of trade dress or trademark infringement, governing aspects such as these. Converse had recently sued over 30 brands and retailers, and has settled with many of them, over trademarks they hold for their signature Chuck Taylor All Stars. Suing based on a patent claim, is relatively unheard of within the fashion industry.

Assuming the patents that Skechers has are design patents, that means the company has protection over the ornamental designs of a functional item. This means that while the item has decorative elements, the item, itself, is functional. This is different than trade dress, where the element is purely ornamental and in fact cannot be functional. So, here, Skechers has protection over the design elements of the functional items used in the uppers, outsoles and bottoms of the shoe.

Skechers has asked for injunctive relief, damages and attorneys’ fees and costs. Steve Madden has not answered the complaint yet. Stay tuned!

Beeta J.

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