Nike tries to block Adidas Primeknit shoe imports to US
The patent wars concerning knitted upper shoes are still in full swing. Nike has requested that the U.S. International Trade Commission block imports of a range of Adidas shoes, which, according to the American sportswear giant, infringe patents related to the design of its lightweight Flyknit knitted footwear.
In a complaint filed on Wednesday, Nike claimed that 49 shoe models made by its German rival, which feature Primeknit technology that the American company alleges is similar to its own, infringe six Nike patents.
The move is the latest development in a soon-to-be-10-year-long sparring match between the two sports and footwear titans. In 2012, Nike was the first to present its technology for knitted shoe uppers, which it dubbed Flyknit. According to the American company, Adidas introduced Primeknit five months later by copying its technology. Adidas, which presented its first Primeknit models during the London 2012 Olympic Games, argues that the technology had actually existed for a long time. Since then, the court cases have stacked up in Europe and the U.S., following the rhythm of Nike's complaints and Adidas' appeals.
Last year, the German company failed in its attempts to invalidate two Nike patents in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Nike has therefore stepped up its offensive maneuvers stateside as it aims to stop the sale of Primeknit products under the filing, In the Matter of Certain Knitted Footwear, No. 337-TA-3580, U.S. International Trade Commission.
An Adidas spokesperson stated in an email that the company is analyzing the complaint and will defend itself against the allegations, adding that the group's Primeknit technology "resulted from years of dedicated research."
Nike and its attorney, Christopher Renk, of Arnold & Poter Kaye Scholer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to Nike's complaint, its Flyknit technology is a new way of manufacturing shoe uppers, allowing the company to create footwear that "excels in performance, design and aesthetics while reducing materials and waste."
Nike uses this technology to make both lifestyle and performance products, notably for running, basketball and soccer. The company further highlights that superstar athletes, such as LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo, wear Flyknit shoes.
The Adidas shoes that allegedly infringe Nike's patents include leisure shoes, soccer cleats, running shoes and hiking boots, and are part of the brand's Ultraboost, Terrex and X Speedflow ranges, among others.
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