Asics claims that Madden has copied its distinctive motif, which has been used on all of Asics’s shoes since 1966, for his Sweeper, Stryker (pictured), Swift and Kwickk designs. Asics, which has sued Madden before, also claims he has broken previous agreements not to use its design.
On the face of it, Asics have a strong case because the stripes on the Madden designs are very similar to its pattern, which consists of two wavy stripes intersecting two parallel stripes. In the US, like Australia, there will be infringement when a company’s name or mark is deceptively similar to that of another company so as to create confusion in the minds of the public as to the source of the goods.
Sportswear giant Adidas won a trademark ruling in Europe this year against shoe retailers selling shoes bearing a design with two parallel stripes, which was considered too similar to Adidas’s famous three-stripe design.