Evidence to support trademark infringement

Glenn W. Peterson

In today’s world, a brand can be one of if not the most important assets a company has. Many businesses in California understand this and work hard to protect their brands in a competitive and online space. When another business takes actions thatundermines that brand, the first company understandably seeks action. A recent case involving two major footwear manufacturers brings more clarity to the type of evidence that a court may require before issuing any type of injunctive relief.

As reported by JD Supra, in the case involving Sketchers and adidas America the court found that testimony from adidas employees about alleged damage caused by Sketches was insufficient for making any relief ruling or award. However, adidas did also put forth evidence from parties external to the company which the court did find credible and concrete enough on which to rule in the company’s favor.

The external evidence included the results of customer surveys, details of targeted marketing and advertising campaigns by Sketchers that even included online meta tags taking people looking for an adidas shoe to the similar Sketchers shoe. In the surveys, roughly one out of every five customers were found to believe that the Sketchers shoe was either made by or somehow connected to the adidas brand due to the similarity in style.

Evidence should be used to show that a company has lost the ability to control its brand reputation due to the actions of the other company but this evidence should be as objective and external as possible.