Skechers USA, the fifth-largest athletic shoe company in the US, has a shoe rack full of legal issues these days, and it's not the only one doing the filing.
The company has filed a suit against Fila and its Amazen Memory Moc shoes saying that it “infringed patents related to Skechers Go Walk shoes,” Reuters reports. It’s only been about a month since Skechers filed a similar suit against Reebok's Walk Ahead RS shoes, saying the footwear also infringed on its Go Walk shoe patents.
Skechers is doing everything it can to protect its growing revenue stream, as it “has reported higher sales in recent quarters, boosted in part by an effort to expand into the performance-running market," the Wall Street Journal notes.
“Skechers has made extensive investment in designing, developing, advertising and patenting our Skechers Go Walk product line and has built Skechers Go Walk into a name and look globally recognized and synonymous with Skechers,” said Skechers COO David Weinberg in a press release.
“Competing in the open marketplace is always preferable, but now Fila is selling its infringing footwear to Skechers wholesale customers and in other sales channels where Skechers Go Walk is sold, and we believe this is causing us enormous damage," he added.
Meanwhile, Skechers is coming under some legal fire of its own after a report by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy accused the brand of labor violations in its California warehouses.
The report chronicles the “low pay, scarce benefits, and dangerous working conditions” that keep Skechers workers from living the “California dream” that it pushes in its marketing, The Huffington Post notes.
One of the company’s alleged main tactics is to hire its drivers as independent contractors who work for a subcontractor, Green Fleet, rather than as full-time employees of Skechers. Thus, Skechers can claim it has no control over how the subcontractor treats its employees.
According to HuffPost, “Because Skechers is Green Fleet's largest customer, the workers have being pressuring Skechers to hold Green Fleet accountable to obeying labor laws.”
No word yet on whether Skechers will step into the debate.
• Connect with Mark on Twitter: @markjmill