When it comes to lawsuits, Nike and its legal team are pretty ‘Swoosh’ about it, always ready to ‘just do it’ and take the course of litigation. This time, they are taking on competitor shoe brands New Balance and Skechers.
In separate legal filings on Tuesday, Nike has sued Skechers and New Balance, alleging that several athletic shoes from the latter and sneakers from the former are misusing Nike’s patented Flyknit shoe technology.
So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, here’s everything you need to know about this shoe-slinging showdown.
Why has Nike sued Skechers and New Balance?
In these lawsuits, Nike asserts that both New Balance and Skechers are inappropriately using its patented Flyknit technology. For the uninitiated, Nike uses this technology to create its athletic shoes. This patented technology enables Nike to create high-performance uppers using fewer materials and generating less waste. Nike has claimed that some of the shoes in New Balance’s Fresh Foam, FuelCell and other lines are infringing on its patent rights. For Skechers, the lawsuit targets their Ultra Flex and Glide Step brands.
Nike is seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages and a permanent ban on both companies from producing shoes that use this “infringing” knit material.
Nike is not new to these patent battles.
In the past, they’ve taken on brands such as PUMA and Adidas. They even had a legal tiff with Lululemon.
Interestingly enough, while Nike has gone after Skechers before for Flyknit patent infringement, this is the first time they’ve set their sights on New Balance.
Nike Drops NBA 2023-2024 Season City Edition Jerseys For Lakers, Knicks And Other Teams
By Sanika Achrekar, Nov 03
Nike Refurbished: You Can Now Buy Pre-Used Nike Sneakers Online At Steal Deals
By Kratagya Rathore, Sep 22
What is New Balance and Skechers’ take on this lawsuit?
Nike says that they tried to resolve the issue with New Balance in January, but instead of resolving it, New Balance has “escalated the scope of its infringing activities.”
New Balance, however, has now responded with a statement of its own. They argue that Nike is pushing the boundaries of its patent, stating that “New Balance fully respects competitors’ intellectual property rights, but Nike does not own the exclusive right to design and produce footwear using traditional manufacturing methods that have been in the industry for decades. We will vigorously defend ourselves against Nike’s attempts to enforce its patents beyond their lawful scope.”
As for Skechers, they have not issued any statement addressing Nike’s legal action.
What is Flyknit technology?
Nike introduced its revolutionary shoe technology in 2012.
In case you are wondering what Flyknit technology is all about, it involves taking lightweight yet strong yarn strands and weaving them into a seamless upper. According to Nike, this process reduces waste by a whopping 60% and makes the shoes lighter. Beyond its eco-friendly properties, Flyknit is flexible and can be customised for different sports and activities to provide targeted support and structure. This technology is backed by several patents, with the first one issued in September 2012.
Stay tuned to this space for more updates on how this shoe saga unfolds.
(Header and feature image courtesy: Credits: Instagram/Nike/New Balance)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– Why is Nike suing Skechers and New Balance?
Nike is suing Skechers and New Balance because it alleges that these companies are infringing on Nike’s patented Flyknit technology.