Adidas is going after alleged counterfeits.
In a complaint filed in Florida federal court, Adidas and its subsidiary Reebok — which is being shopped around to be sold off — targeted dozens of websites that they alleged are selling counterfeit and infringing products, including Yeezy and Reebok sneakers.
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The websites they targeted include those that borrow or modify their names, including adidasco.com, adadassuperstar.com, adidasaustralia.com and others. Adidas and Reebok made claims for trademark counterfeiting and infringement for the sale of the products at steep discounts compared to the prices of the originals, and for cybersquatting by appropriating their domain names, according to the complaint.
“To combat the indivisible harm caused by the combined actions of defendants and others engaging in similar conduct, each year plaintiffs expend significant monetary and other resources in connection with trademark enforcement efforts, including legal fees, investigative fees and support mechanisms for law enforcement, such as field training, guides and seminars,” they wrote in the lawsuit.
“The exponential growth of counterfeiting over the internet has created an environment that requires companies, such as plaintiffs, to expend significant time and money across a wide spectrum of efforts to protect both consumers and themselves from the confusion and erosion of the goodwill embodied in plaintiffs’ brands,” they wrote.
In the suit, Adidas and Reebok also reiterated their ownership of their recognizable trademark symbols — many varieties and combinations of the Adidas iconography and stripe designs, as well as the Reebok logos.
“Defendants’ above identified infringing activities are likely to cause confusion, deception, and mistake in the minds of consumers before, during, and after the time of purchase,” they wrote.
“Moreover, defendants’ wrongful conduct is likely to create a false impression and deceive customers into believing there is a connection or association between plaintiffs’ respective genuine goods and defendants’ counterfeit goods, which there is not,” they said.
A number of the defendant websites could not be reached for comment Friday.
Adidas, which vigorously enforces its rights to use stripes and rights, is known for its suits against rivals in the trade that it perceives as encroaching on its turf through the use of stripes. Fashion retail brands including Forever 21, Skechers and recently, even design house Thom Browne have been at the receiving end of the athletics company’s litigiousness over its trademarks.
The dispute with Thom Browne is ongoing, and the designer brand has responded, defending its use of stripes and saying it had been doing so with Adidas’ consent for more than a decade.
But alleged counterfeits, such as the ones at issue in this suit, fall under a different category, and are also policed by U.S. customs officials.