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Skechers, Britney Spears Settle Dispute Over Skates

Suits over product pact are dropped. Settlement terms aren't revealed. Singer said ads for her products ran only when they were unavailable.

May 13, 2003|From Bloomberg News

Skechers USA Inc. and pop superstar Britney Spears agreed to drop their dueling lawsuits over an endorsement deal that put the singer's name on roller skates sold by the company, Skechers confirmed Monday.

U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz in Los Angeles last week approved a two-sentence order to dismiss the lawsuits. The financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed in court papers.

Philip Paccione, Skechers' general counsel, said the settlement is confidential and declined to comment. Jonathan Solish, a lawyer who represents Spears' Britney Brands Inc., was not available for comment.

In its lawsuit, Britney Brands claimed that Skechers ran ads for the singer's signature line of skates only when those skates -- for which she receives royalties under her contract with the company -- weren't for sale, causing consumers to buy Skechers' brand instead.

Skechers countered the next day with its own lawsuit, charging that Spears failed to approve manufacturers and designs for her line of skates -- Britney 4 Wheelers -- causing it to miss sales in late 2002.

Skechers, based in Manhattan Beach, hired the "Oops! I Did It Again" singer as its spokesmodel in September 2000. In January 2002, the company and the entertainer expanded the agreement to include a line of roller skates and accessories that would have Spears' autographs, photographs and logos.

Last month, Skechers said its first-quarter sales tumbled 15% to $208.6 million as consumers slowed their spending. The company said it planned to increase its advertising to 10% of sales in the second quarter, compared with 6% in the first.

Skechers sells its products to department and specialty stores and directly to consumers at more than 95 company-owned Skechers stores.

Shares of Skechers rose 16 cents to $7.40 in New York Stock Exchange trading.

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