Collective Brands Wants Adidas Ruling Reversed

Shoe maker and retailer has filed a motion seeking to have a court set aside or reduce a $305 million judgment against the company for infringement of the Adidas three-stripe logo.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Shoe maker and retailer Collective Brands Inc. has filed a motion seeking to have a court set aside or reduce a $305 million (euro197.12 million) judgment against the company for what a jury said was unlawful use of the Adidas three-stripe logo.

A federal jury in Oregon last week ordered Topeka-based Collective Brands to pay $305 million (euro197.12 million) in damages to Adidas AG, the world's second-biggest sporting-goods maker.

The verdict stemmed from a lawsuit that Adidas filed in 2001 against Payless ShoeSource for selling shoes that Adidas said violated the trademarked three-stripe logo. Payless changed its name to Collective Brands last year.

Collective Brands filed papers on Monday asking U.S. District Judge Garr King in Portland, Oregon, to reverse the award or order a new trial in the seven-year-old infringement case, the company confirmed Tuesday.

''We believe that the jury's verdict was unjustified and excessive, and that we have strong grounds to have the jury's verdict overturned or reduced,'' Collective Brands Chief Executive Matthew E. Rubel said in a note to shareholders.

Paul Ehrlich, general counsel for Adidas North America, said Adidas has been building its brand for more than 60 years and that the verdict underscores the importance of protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices.

''Adidas is pleased the jury agreed with our position that Payless' conduct was unlawful and can not be tolerated,'' Ehrlich said in an e-mail response Tuesday.

Adidas has filed similar lawsuits against other shoemakers in the U.S. and Europe. The award against Collective Brands was the biggest victory for Adidas in its effort to block retailers from using certain striped patterns on shoes and athletic apparel.

The amount includes $30.6 million (euro19.78 million) in actual damages and $274 million (euro177.08 million) divided between Payless profits and punitive damages, Collective Brands said.

In the filing, Collective Brands said Adidas offered no evidence it suffered actual damages, calling the judgment ''irrational'' and arguing Adidas failed to offer credible evidence that anyone ever confused the shoe with the trademarked version.

Collective Brands said the judgment was 15 times more than the profits made on the shoes.

Rubel said if the trial court does not grant the company's motions it could take several years for the matter to be resolved on appeal.

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