It’s game, set, match for Adidas when it comes to the protectable trade dress in its iconic Stan Smith tennis shoe. In a dispute between Adidas and Skechers over the “Skecherizing” of the Stan Smith shoe, the District Court for the District of Oregon denied Skechers’ motion for summary judgment finding that Adidas could show it has protectable trade dress in its well-known shoe design because the design was recognizable to consumers and not functional. Adidas America Inc. et al. v. Skechers USA Inc., D. Or (August 3, 2017) (order granting in part and denying in part motion for summary judgment).
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas recently examined the scope of copyright protection for role-playing card games, parsing the use of parallel themes and characters. The court ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of a distributor accused of infringing a role-playing card game by creating a substantially similar game, but in a parallel (different) setting. This case provides guidance to companies that create games in traditional or digital media, clarifying where the line should be drawn between the protectable expressive aspects of a game and unprotectable rules or underlying ideas and concepts. The court’s decision also provides a helpful illustration of the differing standards applied to motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment.