Saturday, April 13

Nike sues New Balance, Skechers for patent infringement over sneaker technology

Footwear giant Nike filed federal lawsuits on Monday against rivals New Balance and Skechers, accusing them of infringing on patents related to its technology for making the upper portions of its sneakers.

The lawsuits said several New Balance athletic shoes and Skechers sneakers misuse Nike’s patented “Flyknit” technology used in Nike’s running, football and basketball shoes.

Nike previously sued Adidas, Puma and Lululemon for infringing on its Flyknit patents. Adidas and Puma have settled their lawsuits, while Nike’s case against Lululemon is still ongoing.

New Balance said in a statement 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”.

Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike’s website said its Flyknit technology “uses high-strength fibres to create lightweight uppers with targeted areas of support, stretch and breathability”.

The lawsuits said the patented technology allows it to make high-performance uppers with reduced materials and waste.

Nike’s complaint against Boston-based New Balance, filed in Massachusetts federal court, said shoes from New Balance’s Fresh Foam, FuelCell and other lines violate Nike’s patent rights.

Nike sued Manhattan Beach, California-based Skechers in Los Angeles, claiming Skechers’ Ultra Flex, Glide Step and other brands infringed on its patents.

Nike asked the courts for an unspecified amount of damages and court orders permanently blocking New Balance and Skechers from infringing on the patents. – Reuters

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