Author Topic: Confusion on "stealth" with regards to PK shoes  (Read 3352 times)

Offline TK17

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Confusion on "stealth" with regards to PK shoes
« on: January 02, 2008, 02:50:49 PM »
Mods, I understand that this might more appropriately go in the Consumer Whores section, and if you need to move it I will completely understand.  But I thought it <perhaps> deserved a bit more attention, and thus put it up here.

----------------------------------------------------------

*Modified in response to info from EZ and Muse of Fire*

Urban Freeflow is currently doing a word-of-mouth promotion for the upcoming Adidas parkour shoe, the "Traceur."  This is entirely appropriate, given that they are sponsored by Adidas, and they are (of course) Adidas' biggest group of traceurs.

However, the shoes are often referred to on UF as the "stealth" or "jet black stealth" models, in keeping with their regular habit of calling black things "stealth."

As a heads-up, "Stealth Rubber" is a trademarked brand of rubber used by the shoe company Five Ten, meaning that they have paid for and received the rights to the use of the word with regards to the rubber used in athletic shoes.  This may not sound like a big deal at all, but when you consider that Adidas is a giant of a company, and Five Ten is much smaller and, to a great extent, STRONGLY DEPENDS on the name-brand recognition associated with Stealth Rubber, you can see where this could be a serious problem for them.  Essentially, any traceur who's read a thread like this one, and had the words "stealth rubber" in the back of their mind for a while might walk into a shoe store, link up with the word "stealth" that they saw on UF, and buy the Adidas shoe.

While this particular instance is unofficial and probably accidental, Five Ten's already pursuing a separate trademark infringement involving the same name, also by Adidas, so I wanted to make sure to get a counter-word out.  This kind of thing can pretty effectively screw Five Ten out of their advertising dollars ... Five Ten builds a reputation, but then hundreds of traceurs give their thousands of dollars to a different company because the new shoes mess with brand name associations.

Point --->  There is nothing wrong with Urban Freeflow endorsing a shoe by Adidas, and there is nothing wrong with Adidas manufacturing and marketing a parkour shoe.  But the rubber on the sole of that shoe is NOT Stealth rubber (which is the best shoe rubber on the face of the Earth, bar none).

-TK17
« Last Edit: January 03, 2008, 12:10:56 PM by TK17 »

Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Re: FYI on an Adidas trademark violation
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2008, 04:37:38 PM »
A note here, from my husband who is an Intellectual Property attorney.

1. You can't trademark a word. The trademark "Stealth" applies to the rubber material *only*. This means that technically anyone can create and market a product called "Stealth" and not violate the trademark (as long as your product isn't a type of rubber). So the statement that they own the rights to all athletic shoes called "Stealth" is erroneous (although the precise wording of the trademark may make this more clear).

2. There is room in the law concerning "consumer confusion," which I think is what you're getting at here. Even though Stealth refers to rubber (and if this went to a legal battle, the Adidas people would have a strong case to keep their shoe named Stealth based on that: "5.10's Stealth is rubber, ours is a shoe,"), you are correct in that traceurs looking for specialized shoes may have reason to be confused by the existence of Stealth rubber and a Stealth shoe. And again, if this were to become a legal battle, 5.10's attorneys would also have a reasonably strong consumer confusion case.

3. It is the responsibility of all trademark owners to defend their trademarks, to have evidence of a stake in the trademark. In all honesty this is the whole point behind Coke & Pepsi's huge advertising budgets. These soft drinks are so ubiquitous, they don't need to "sell" their product so much as to prove that they have a stake in maintaining their brand in case a trademark violation were to come up. So in this case, it is up to 5.10 to sic their lawyers on Adidas, if only to put in a cease & desist (I think an all-out lawsuit would be a bit much and may not be financially feasible for 5.10, but that is for them to decide).

Thanks for pointing this out. My guess is that the 5.10 guys are already on this, but if not, it would be good for them to see, if only to ask their lawyers and make a sensible corporate decision.

According to my husband, legally, this could go either way. 5.10 has a trademark on Stealth for *rubber*, which is different enough from a shoe that Adidas could make a strong argument. However the specialization of traceurs' shoes and the use of Stealth rubber on 5.10's parkour shoes gives 5.10 a reasonable argument for consumer confusion.
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Offline Sat Santokh

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Re: FYI on an Adidas trademark violation
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2008, 07:20:20 PM »
Not that I'm an expert or know anything about this subject or anything but.  Five-Tens trademark would only be in America right?  I'm pretty sure Adidas doesn't even sell the traceur shoe in america yet, much less the stealth model.  Just my quick thoughts.

Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Re: FYI on an Adidas trademark violation
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2008, 08:05:02 PM »
Trademarks are usually registered country by country. Smaller companies typically register only in the country of origin or in the countries to which they export. Larger companies typically have the financial clout to register a trademark globally.

As to whether 5.10's "Stealth" trademark is US-only or international, that's a question for 5.10. :) You raise a good point, Sat.
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
--excerpt from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

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Offline TK17

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Re: FYI on an Adidas trademark violation
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2008, 07:35:18 AM »
Good info coming from everybody, thanks a lot for that professional opinion, Muse.    ;D

Offline UR34N

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Re: FYI on an Adidas trademark violation
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2008, 11:18:54 AM »
Groan......TK17, you are way off the mark here.

The adidas Parkour/Freerun shoes currently have the working title of 'Traceur', which I figure they will change before they are officially released.

The term 'Stealth' is used by us at Urban Freeflow to describe any products that are black......shoes, tees, bags etc. Contrary to what you believe, there is no ulterior motive or a marketing ploy by us or adidas. It is a simple word we use all the time and will continue to do so.

To clear things up, the rubber that adidas have used for the soles of the traceur is called 'Sticky rubber'. At least that's what is written on them.

As for 5 Ten, I know little of their shoes but if they think that their trademark has been violated (which it hasn't) it is their responsibility to protect it.

Hope that clears things up.

ez
Urban Free Flow Ltd
www.urbanfreeflow.com

Offline TK17

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Re: FYI on an Adidas trademark violation
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2008, 12:00:40 PM »
Hey, EZ, thanks for joining the conversation.  I hope I haven't offended you ... I did my best to make it clear that I didn't think Urban Freeflow had done anything wrong at all ... unlike many of my friends, I'm not a UF hater.

Five Ten is actually doing their own legal research, and is already pursuing a second, separate possible infringement on the rights to the word "stealth."  I've posted this simply to open up discussion on the issue, and now we're getting somewhere.  I'm eager to protect Five Ten - as I said, I know the guys and love the product, so the issue's really important to me, especially as Adidas is so popular and successful. This isn't meant to get any legal movement started, but just a word-of-mouth to counter OTHER word-of-mouth confusion.  It's good to know that there's nothing deliberate there, though

Apologies if any offense WAS given, and I've gone and edited the initial post to reflect what you've just told me.  However, given that Urban Freeflow is such an enormous portal for traceurs, maybe you yourself could open a discussion with Five Ten?  Not my place to suggest you change your site, obviously, but nothing but good could come of at least talking, right?

P.S. - edited the same thread on 3Run, and added your reply there, too.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2008, 12:51:06 PM by TK17 »

Offline UR34N

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Re: Confusion on "stealth" with regards to PK shoes
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2008, 03:35:59 AM »
I don't know anyone at Five Ten but am happy to discuss their issue if need be.
However, I don't think it is really my place to pitch in on the matter because if there's already a legal case with adidas, its probably best to leave them to get on with it.

As for UF, yes we are sponsored by adidas as an org/team but there is no 'word of mouth' campaign in effect. Our relationship with them is a very good one and we are left to just get on with what we do without any interference. We played an active part in producing the shoes that are about to be released and are proud to see them come to fruition. The shoes haven't been rushed. In fact, they've been thoroughly pressure tested for over 2 years and we are now happy with the end result. That said, there will still be people out there who might not like them. Regardless, I'd like to think that the practitioners out there are savvy enough to make up their own minds about what they spend their money on.
Bottom line......try before you buy. I was given some of the Ariake's when our sponsorship deal was up for tender and didn't like them (which is why we didn't sign with K-Swiss) but there are others out there singing their praises. I've tried Inov-8 and didn't like them either but still, some people seem to like them. I've seen the RBK shoes which are the ugliest things I've ever but again, some people still like them. All of these shoes are aimed at Traceur's/Freerunners. I can't comment on Five Ten because I've never seen them. You seem keen on them though, so obviously that's a positive thing.

All said and done, if I were neutral and not sponsored already, I'd advise anyone out there to just stick with regular running shoes made by the likes of adidas, Nike, Asics, Saucony etc. They are cheap enough but still do the job.



Offline Phil S.

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Re: Confusion on "stealth" with regards to PK shoes
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2008, 07:09:30 PM »
I dunno for certain, but I think the five ten rubber is actually called stealth onyx rubber.

Offline Andy Animus Tran

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Re: Confusion on "stealth" with regards to PK shoes
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2008, 02:29:17 PM »
I dunno for certain, but I think the five ten rubber is actually called stealth onyx rubber.

I believe that's just a particular type of Stealth.  Though, the Stealth trademark is owned by the company that produces Stealth.  5.10 just has rights to Stealth, but so does Vasquez (although Vasquez doesn't exclusively use Stealth).
Andy Tran, C.S.C.S.
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Parkour Virginia

Offline Phil S.

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Re: Confusion on "stealth" with regards to PK shoes
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2008, 05:50:04 PM »
ok cool i didn't know that.