Sportswear manufacturers Adidas and Puma are embroiled in a copyright infringement dispute after Puma announced a new running shoe range which Adidas claimed was too similar to its highly popular ‘Boost’ trainers.
The regional court in Düsseldorf rejected Adidas’ bid to block Puma’s latest range, which the former believed infringed the patent of a soft, bouncy, foam sole that Adidas gained an exclusive contract to use in 2011.
The foam polyurethane, manufactured by German chemicals firm BASF, provides a type of sole marketed as ‘ideal for running shoes’ due to the above characteristics, leading to its successful use across a variety of sporting footwear in the Adidas range.
Adidas signed an exclusive deal with BASF for the technology in 2011 and sold 10 million pairs of its ‘Boost’ trainers in the running category alone in 2015.
Rival Puma then approached US-based Huntsman Corp in 2014 in pursuit of a material with similar characteristics – launching its ‘NRGY’ line last year following the collaboration.
In response, Adidas filed an injunction against the sale of Puma’s ‘NRGY’ range at Dusseldorf’s Regional Court this week, which was quickly rejected by the Judge despite the similarities between the products.
Puma’s head of intellectual property, Neil Narriman stated that “Puma tried to show Adidas with this case that even though we are smaller, we will not give in that easily. We will fight for our rights”.
In response to this, an Adidas spokesperson said that: “We will continue to vigorously protect our rights and will continue to take action in case of infringements”.
While this particular dispute may have ended, the two brands are still in separate proceedings over accusations that Adidas profited from Puma’s earlier work with BASF, an assertion that Adidas denies.