Skechers USA Inc. has filed a lawsuit against footwear rival Steven Madden Ltd. for allegedly infringing on numerous Skechers Go Walk designs with the Setta style in the Steven by Steve Madden collection.

The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, seeks injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, including treble damages for patent infringements, and compensation for attorneys’ fees and other costs. The plaintiff has requested a jury trial.

The suit charges that Steven Madden improperly infringed on six different patents held by Skechers, all of them involving construction details such as the shoes’ uppers, outsoles and bottoms rather than style details such as those that might be called into question in a trade dress suit. Both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s styles employ colorful braided uppers in certain of their Setta and Go Walk styles, but these aren’t cited in court papers.

“While we prefer to compete in the marketplace, Steven Madden is selling its infringing footwear to Skechers’ wholesale customers and in other sales channels where the Skechers products are sold, and we believe this is causing us enormous damage,” said David Weinberg, chief operating officer of Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based Skechers. “Considering our investment in the Skechers Go Walk and our other product lines, we will not allow anyone to infringe on some of our most valuable intellectual properties.”

He added that the company would take similar action against any firm that infringes on its designs or any retailer that sells the allegedly infringing Setta style.

Officials at Steven Madden, based in Long Island City, N.Y., had no comment on the suit.

Skechers is being represented in the case by Marshall Lerner and Vivian Wang of Kleinberg & Lerner law firm in Los Angeles.


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