Puma accuses Brooks of infringing ‘Nitro’ running shoe brand

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The logo of sportswear company Puma is seen inside its store at Tbilisi Mall in Tbilisi, Georgia April 22, 2016. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

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  • Puma launched the “Nitro” line last year
  • Brooks ads for nitrogen-infused shoes allegedly violate rights

(Reuters) – German sportswear maker Puma SE sued Berkshire Hathaway’s Brooks Sports Inc in federal court in Indianapolis, alleging that Brooks’ advertisement for sneakers with nitrogen-infused soles violates trademark rights” Nitro” from Puma.

Puma’s Friday court case also accused Brooks of infringing a design patent by copying the foam molding technology that Puma uses in its Nitro shoes for Brooks’ Aurora BL running shoes.

A spokesperson for Brooks said Monday that Puma was “abusing trademark law by seeking to prevent competitors from using the term ‘nitro’ to describe nitro-infused footwear” and called the allegations “baseless”.

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Puma and its attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Puma said in the lawsuit that it launched its “Nitro” line of running shoes last year and has since become one of Puma’s best-selling U.S. brands.

The lawsuit said a Puma employee discovered at a trade show in November that Brooks was using “Nitro” to advertise its running shoes. Puma said Brooks’ infringing ad campaign includes offers to “infuse your run with nitro” on its website and the “#RunOnNitro” social media hashtag.

Brooks rejected Puma’s attempt to settle the dispute in December, according to the lawsuit.

Puma accused Brooks of violating its common law trademark rights over the word “Nitro”. Puma’s application for a federal “Nitro” trademark is still pending.

Puma asked the court for undetermined damages and an order restraining Brooks from using the “Nitro” name or infringing on its patent.

Sneaker maker Skechers USA Inc also sued Brooks last month for trademark infringement in Los Angeles. Skechers said Brooks’ use of the number “5” on some of its running shoes was likely to cause confusion with Skechers’ “S” logo.

The Puma case is Puma SE v. Brooks Sports Inc, US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, No. 1:22-cv-01362.

For Puma: Joel Tragesser, Michael Piery and James Aquilina of Quarles & Brady

For Brooks: not available

Read more:

Skechers sues Brooks Running for trademark infringement over ‘5’ logo

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