Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Skechers Sues Adidas over Payments Made to College, HS Basketball Players

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Shannon Reynolds | 11 May, 2018, 03:27

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction barring Skechers from selling its Onix shoe, which Adidas said looked too much like its white Stan Smith shoe, its all-time best-seller with more than 40 million pairs sold.

"Some of the key ways that law-abiding shoe companies get their products on players' feet are through sponsoring youth basketball programs, sponsoring college/university sports programs, and through endorsement deals with professional players in the NBA. adidas' illicit bribery program, however, has corrupted all of these channels, tipping the scales unfairly in adidas' favor to the detriment of competitors, including Skechers". Adidas has a strong foothold in AAU tournaments and programs across the country.

Adidas is now facing a lawsuit from Sketchers, the shoe company accusing Adidas of an unfair advantage after the FBI's investigation into college basketball schemes.

"In fact, however, adidas has coopted young players into wearing and expressly or implicitly endorsing its products by funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in secret payments to players, their coaches, and/or family members in violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association ('NCAA') rules".

Skechers has filed a lawsuit against Adidas over the apparel company allegedly paying amateur athletes before they turned pro.

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"We had no doubt the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would affirm that Skechers has engaged in unlawful and infringing behavior", the Adidas spokesperson said in a statement.

Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen stated in the court's decision, "The evidence supports an inference that Skechers meant to confuse consumers; it not only created a almost identical shoe to the Stan Smith, but then used metadata tags to direct consumers who searched for "adidas stan smith" to the Onix web page".

Neither company immediately responded to requests for comment.

Skechers is filing the suit in relation to former adidas representative Jim Gatto and the fraud charges against him.

Skechers, which is calling for a jury trial, is asking in part for an unspecified amount of money in damages.

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