Vibram S.p.A. of Italy and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Vibram USA, have commenced legal action in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts against Fila USA for patent infringement. The complaint alleges that Fila's "Skeletoes" footwear is infringing several U.S. patents held by Vibram. The FiveFingers patents cover a variety of footwear designs comprising individual toe pockets.
Tony Post, Vibram USA's president said, "Vibram launched the concept in 2005, and public reception has grown tremendously since, now the entire footwear industry has responded by entering the minimalist category. In fact, Vibram has even partnered with Merrell and New Balance to create minimal/barefoot like sole platforms that are complementary to our Vibram FiveFingers."
He added, "Vibram innovated the technology and earned the patents. With our success, copyists and counterfeiters have come out of the woodwork. We will continue to take aggressive action against all who infringe our intellectual property. These infringements are not only damaging to Vibram, they also hurt our retail partners and the public trust. Vibram will work diligently to bring such action to a stop.”