Skechers Sues Adidas Claiming The Brand Made “Secret” Payments to Player Prospects

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The sneaker wars continue.

This week, Skechers sued Adidas in federal court, claiming its competitor spent hundreds of thousands paying high school and college basketball players and their families to wear its products, reports ESPN.

And, because of this, it created false advertising and unfair competition.

Filed in Los Angeles, the lawsuit alleges that unlawful payments made by Adidas and its employees “effectively blocked Skechers and other companies from competing on a level playing field for young, NBA-level endorsers, and unfairly bolstered consumer perception of adidas’ overall brand quality and image well beyond the basketball footwear market.”

Skechers is asking that it recover Adidas’ “ill-gotten profits, damages for lost sales and diminished brand value and increased advertising and marketing costs, and an injunction preventing adidas from making further illegal, undisclosed endorsement payments to amateur basketball players,” states the lawsuit.

So far, an Adidas spokesperson has called Skechers’ complaint “frivolous and nonsensical”. Furthermore, the rep says the lawsuit be “summarily dismissed.”

While Adidas, as a company, is denying this, Adidas executive Jim Gatto was among 10 men arrested by FBI agents in late September, following a two-year investigation into bribes and corruption in college basketball. The government alleges that Gatto and his associates conspired to make secret payments to persuade high school players to sign with Adidas-sponsored colleges, and then, sign them to endorsement deals once they turned pro.

They are scheduled to go on trial in October, said the report.