Responding to Puma’s demand that a suede creeper sneaker, a slide sandal with fur and a slide sandal with a knotted satin bow be taken off Forever 21’s shelves while the athletic brand’s’ claim that the shoes are copies of Rihanna’s designs for her Fenty line make their way through the courts, the chain criticized such “thinly veiled anticompetitive intent.”
“Puma’s motion to preliminarily enjoin Forever 21 from selling classic shoe designs must be denied because Puma’s claims are not likely to succeed on the merits and, even if Puma had stated actionable claims, it cannot demonstrate the requisite immediacy or irreparability of harm,” Forever 21 said in a response filed Tuesday with a California federal court.
The retailer also pushed the court to dismiss Puma’s infringement claims outright, arguing the athletic brand is only one of “dozens” that offer the “classic shoe designs” at issue.
“A cursory glance at the shoe marketplace contradicts Puma’s purported originality and reveals that the designs Puma claims as its own are commonplace and have been historically offered by various designers — under different brands, for decades in some cases — at a wide range of price points,” Forever 21 wrote in its response. “Puma availed itself of these classic designs as much as any other designer.”
Given the alleged commonality of the designs at issue, Forever 21 went on to argue that Puma is unlikely to succeed on its infringement claims, and told the court to reject Puma’s claims as an “attempt to shut down legitimate competition.”
A Puma representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
The brand has argued that a preliminary injunction against Forever 21 is necessary because the alleged knock offs are such “blatant” and “precise” copies that come out so quickly, its entire business is being threatened.
Elements of Puma’s Fenty shoes that Forever 21 has allegedly copied include the ridged sole design of the creeper sneaker and the style of satin bow on the slide sandals, as well as the colorways.
Puma also claims that Forever 21’s designs are made in an obvious attempt to trade on the brand’s “valuable reputation” and that the shoe designs are so similar that shoppers are likely to be confused as to the source of the designs.
Beyond the injunction, Puma is seeking unspecified damages and asked that all profits realized from the sale of the allegedly infringing shoes be disgorged.
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