- Skechers has filed a legal complaint against non-slip shoemaker Laforst Shoes, alleging patent infringement, according to court documents.
- The complaint centers on Skechers’ “hands free” slip-in styles, which were the subject of Skechers’ high-profile Super Bowl ads starring Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg earlier this year.
- Attorneys for Skechers allege that a Laforst shoe infringes on its patents, specifically its heel design.
The complaint, filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, centers on five of Skechers’ patents regarding the part of the shoe that wraps around the wearer’s heel. The design of the shoe “visually separate[s] the heel area from the rest of the shoe by giving it a distinctive visual appearance.”
Attorneys claim that Skechers has sold millions of pairs of the hands free shoe.
“Based on these novel and unique designs and the proven popularity of the shoes that embody these designs, defendant Laforst began making a shoe that has the same heel design as the patented Skechers heel design,” the complaint reads. “Only after Skechers incurred the substantial risk and monumental expense of developing and promoting its shoes with this heel design, and established that it had broad appeal, did Laforst enter the market with its infringing shoe.”
Skechers is seeking financial compensation for the alleged infringement of its patents, the cost of the suit and attorneys fees, and other damages.
Attorneys for Laforst did not respond to Fashion Dive’s request for comment ahead of press time.
Established in 1990, Laforst is a California-based company which specializes in non-slip shoes and markets them based on the wearer’s profession, including offerings for the health care, food service and light industry professions. It also offers other casual styles in its Nextgen Footwear brand.
According to the Laforst complaint, Skechers has hundreds of patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which its attorneys called “the legal lifeblood of the company.”