Sportswear company Nike has filed lawsuits against rivals New Balance and Skechers for infringing on Nike’s technology and upper portions of sneaker manufacturing patents.
In the lawsuits seen by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Nike claimed that multiple New Balance products such as its Fresh Foam X 1080 v12 and FuelCell Rebel v3, and various Skechers products including Arch Fit – Good Vibrations and Arch Fit Glide-Step, have used Nike’s Flyknit technologies without authorisation.
Nike's Flyknit technology uses high-strength fibres to create lightweight uppers with targeted areas of support, stretch and breathability, according to its website.
Nike also said that it had communicated with New Balance on several occasions but to no avail. "Instead, New Balance has only escalated the scope of its infringing activities," the statement reads.
In the lawsuit against Skechers, Nike said Skechers has infringed the asserted Patents by making, using, selling, offering to sell, or importing the infringing products in the United States without the consent or authorisation of Nike.
Nike added that the activities of Skechers and New Balance have caused and will continue to cause Nike irreparable injury for which there is no adequate remedy at law unless the court enjoins New Balance’s infringing activities.
As such, Nike is requesting the court to order New Balance and Skechers to compensate Nike for the infringement, and is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting further infringement by both companies and their associated parties.
The lawsuit also cited other instances Nike’s competitors using its Flyknit technologies without its permission such as Puma, adidas and lululemon.
In response, New Balance told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that it fully respects competitors' intellectual property rights, but Nike does not own the exclusive right to design and produce footwear by traditional manufacturing methods that have been used in the industry for decades. "We will vigorously defend ourselves against Nike’s attempts to enforce its patents beyond their lawful scope," the statement said.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to New Balance and Skechers for a statement.
Nike has been hard at work protecting its trademarks. Back in January, it filed a lawsuit against Japanese fashion brand A Bathing Ape (BAPE) in a New York court for trademark infringement and copying some of Nike's famous footwear products, earlier this year.
According to the lawsuit, Nike said BAPE was a copyist whose infringements have recently grown to become a significant danger to Nike’s rights. “BAPE’s current footwear business revolves around copying Nike’s iconic designs”, the lawsuit said.
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