Why Giant Reebok is Trying to Challenge Small RBX Active Patents?
Reebok International filed a lawsuit against two patent infringements with the International Trade Commission on August 10, 2016. The complaint alleges RBX Activewear that New York-based TRB Acquisitions LLC and RBX LLC are violating Section 337, the 1930 Tariff Act… and thus stepping on the toes Reebok sole patents.
Reebok’s parent Adidas is well-aware of their strict patent protection policies
Reebok seeks to stop the importation, sale, and sale of certain athletic footwear within the United States after it was imported. According to the complaint, the footwear mimics Reebok’s flexible sole technology.
TRB may feel like they are reliving a past Reebok lawsuit in November 2015. In that case, Adidas and TRB claimed that TRB products were violating trademark logos of the three stripes and Reebok. TRB products were accused of using imitations of the Adidas Marks, Reebok Marks in such a way as to confuse consumers and deceive the general public about the origin, sponsorship and/or affiliation.
Similar cases are now back from the grave. Reebok provided detailed information about its flexible sole patent (221 pictured below), which was up for discussion in the August 2016 complaint. Now, the company is turning to Section 337 (Tariff Act) to support the protection of this technology.
Section 337 states that the illegal practice of import trade is the infringing of U.S. patents, copyrights, trademarks, or mask work. This is because it can create unfair competition and injure domestic industries. It sounds a bit like big men protecting their big interests, but it is clear that the RBX tread is reminiscent Reebok’s CrossFit shoes. Reebok will not give up on its fight.
RBXRBX markets its shoes to this category by using the words “performance” or “cross training” instead of the trademarked CrossFit (see photo to right).
TRB is being portrayed as the conductor of the infringement. He allegedly gave license to Elite, RBX, to produce infringing goods in China and to import, market, and sell in the U.S.
Adidas may have thought that this was a case where it covered its face in the face of conflict, but it’s not clear. The complaint raises questions about whether RBX is worth pursuing. RBX’s consumer recognition is pathetic compared to major league Reebok. The pathetic 2,000 plus Facebook followers are lost among the 5.5 million plus Reebok U.S. supporters.
Retail: RBX opened its first retail store on July 1, 2016. Reebok/Adidas stores are worldwide, numbering in the thousands.
Reebok’s win could still make a significant dent in the burgeoning RBX. It will shut down around a dozen women’s and men’s footwear brands (a few of which are pictured below). You don’t become a leader in sportswear by allowing the little guys to step on your toes.
What Oregon Runs RBX Activewear?
We came across RBX recently, a company that is new to Oregon but has been around for over ten years. They have changed over the years to their current form.
Rugged Bear X-Treme was founded over a decade ago. Since then, RBX Active has grown to be RBX Active. RBX Active was founded on the radical idea that everyone should feel great about their bodies. We are dedicated to an enthusiastic mission to bring value to our customers’ lives by offering the best quality fashionable fitness essentials at a truly affordable price.
Recently, we were sent samples of RBC items to test and get feedback. The styling and construction of RBC products seemed simple and would be a good fit for casual to mid-level runners. RBX, unlike other companies that are heavily involved in running, has roots in larger box stores like Kohls and can often be used to supplement running closets. Although we thought they were solid, we have to admit that there are many more technical and lighter running-specific apparel companies.
Matt: I was sent two bottoms, a pair of compression pants and a pair training shorts. They had a longer length and were connected to a pair compression shorts underneath. The undershorts were a bit too long for me, but it’s just a personal preference. They were otherwise a great pair of shorts and would be perfect for RBX Activewear cross-training.
Although the pants were described as compression, I found them not to be very compressive. I didn’t find the 94% Polyester/6% Spandex construction tight enough to make them a “compression” running pants. That is what runners might think of when they hear the word. They are not bad, but that’s not to suggest they are. They are very snug on the body, and they did an admirable job keeping me warm during cold and wet runs. They were super comfortable with a waffle-like interior that kept my legs warm enough.
Although neither style is available on their RBX Activewear website yet, you can check out their shorts or pants options on Amazon. The price range for shorts is $20 to $25, and the price of pants is $30 to $30.
Teresa: I tried the RBX running tights out and loved them more than I expected. They were too large for me initially and the reflective stripe on the black leggings made them look a little too bulky. These will make you visible if you run in the dark. The material was great. This was a thicker, synthetic blend that is ideal for outdoor running in colder months. They run large, which I discovered. It was possible to fold the waistband over and enjoy the extra support in the midsection. I wash all of my clothes and this was no exception. Each time they came out of dryer, they looked as good as new. These are great for the price. They are made of high quality fabric and will last a long time.
Tung: I tried two RBX Tech short-sleeve tech RBX Activewear shirts as well as a pair of compression tights. Strange fact: The shirts were identical, but the colors were different. One was made in Kenya, the other in China. I found the medium size to be perfect for my torso and was soft and comfortable. These tech shirts had a similar feel to most, but less than the Champion C9 ones at Target. I like the slick feel. YMMV)
The shirts were also very nice in that they came in two colors – one was maroon, the other was grey. RBX has a great line of running shirts, and I didn’t know that until I tried them. The compression tights have not been needed on cold days, but I did try them out on a mild, windy morning to see if they could block windchill. It was only 50 degrees outside so I felt warm, but not too hot. It was enough to remind me of its existence. Although I don’t usually wear compression gear, I found it didn’t interfere with my running.
Bobi Jo: I’ve been wearing two RBX products. A pair of mesh leggings (similar to these) as well as a long-sleeve hoodie with tech lining (similar to this). Although the leggings worked well for weight lifting and other classes that are not cardio, I found the fabric a little stiff. The waistband has a deep pocket that can hold a key. However, without a zippered pocket I would be hesitant to trust any other than a gel inside. A black exercise pant with simple legs is given a cute touch by the mesh.
This hoodie is made from super soft jersey fabric. It is perfect for running errands, post-workout, yoga classes, and other activities. It was very comfortable and quick drying, which I loved when it rained at the farmer’s market. Although it’s not my most lightweight hoodie, it’s very comfortable. The neckline is interesting RBX Activewear and has an elastic hemline.
Shelly: I was able try two RBX products, the Vortex Raglan Long Sleeve Shirt (and the Vortex X Strap Mesh Ankle Legging). When I opened the box, the first thing that struck me was the softness of the shirt. This shirt is my new favorite, and I wear it all the time. It’s soft, comfortable and breathable. It is made with spandex and X-Dri technology fabric. The top stays in place and keeps me cool. The leggings are well-matched with the gorgeous faux wrap hem and overlock stitching. It was comfortable enough to wear on runs, at the gym, brunch, and anywhere else comfort was important.
Vortex X Strap Mesh Ankle Leggings have breathable mesh perforations that keep you cool while running or working out. The interior pocket in the waistband can be used to store keys, cash, or cards while running or exercising. It is my favorite length and has a 7/8 inch ankle length. They also fit my 3 1/2-inch taller daughter. Vortex Mesh Ankle Leggings and Vortex Raglan Long Sleeve shirt are fashionable and comfortable for running, workouts, and casual days out.
- 87% Polyester, 13% Elastane
- Elastic closure
- Machine Wash
- Our Most Legendary: Super-light HeatGear fabric delivers superior coverage without weighing you down
- Material wicks sweat & dries really fast
- Ergonomic flatlock seams deliver a comfortable, chafe-free fit
- 100% Cotton
- Zipper closure
- Machine Wash
- Zip-front jacket featuring adjustable drawstring hood and shirred split kangaroo pocket
- Lightweight 4.5-ounce slub fabric
- Tag-free for comfort
- 50% Viscose, 25% Polyester, 25% Nylon
- Made in the USA
- Pull On closure
- Hand Wash Only
- Fabric: Lightweight knit
- Hooded neckline and long sleeves, Ribbed edges
- Length: 19.75in / 50cm, from shoulder
- 100% Polyester
- Pull On closure
- Machine Wash
- UA Tech fabric is quick-drying, ultra-soft & has a more natural feel
- Material wicks sweat & dries really fast
- New, streamlined fit & shaped hem