Collective Brands Inc is to ask a judge to overturn or reduce the $305m it was last week ordered to pay Adidas America Inc for infringing its three-stripe trademark.

In a letter to shareholders, Matthew E Rubel, CEO and president of Collective Brands, said the company wants the court "to set aside the verdict and either enter judgment in our favour or order a new trial, and, if that is not the case, to reduce the jury's award substantially."

Failing this, "we intend to appeal to the United States Court of Appeals," he said. "If the trial court does not grant our motions, it may take several years for the matter to be resolved on appeal."
The case goes back to 2001, when Collective Brands' unit Payless ShoeSource defended the trademark infringement case brought against it by Adidas AG.

Adidas claimed Payless' two- and four-stripe shoe styles infringed on its three-stripe logo and Superstar trade dress.

A jury last week awarded Adidas $305m in damages, consisting of $30.6m in actual damages and $274m divided between Payless profits and punitive damages.

"The jury's total award," Rubel points out, "is more than 10 times the actual damages found and exceeds by 15 times our profits on the sale of these shoes."

He also fears that if not overturned, the ruling would permit Adidas to claim exclusive control over all shoes with two, three or four parallel stripes.

Collective Brands alleges that Adidas offered no evidence that it suffered damages or that anyone ever bought a Payless shoe believing it to be an Adidas shoe.