Nike‘s beefing with two of its biggest competitors over one of its newest and most pioneering technologies.
The sportswear giant filed in US District courts in both California and Massachusetts over the unauthorized use of Flyknit –which it has patented–and came with receipts to prove the infringement.
Photos in the filing show dozens of Skechers using Flyknit technology like a Martha Stewart collab and other silhouettes like the Ultra Flex, Elite 2.0, and Glide Step. As for New Balance, the suit claims the Boston-based outfitter used the technology on at least 21 of its current sneakers.
According to Complex, New Balance has released a statement on the litigation, touting that the tech has been around for plenty of years and Nike has no right to forbid other companies from using it.
“New Balance 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,” the statement reads. “We will vigorously defend ourselves against Nike’s attempts to enforce its patents beyond their lawful scope.”
Nike tried to avoid litigation with New Balance in January when it alerted them of the issue, but says that warning “only escalated the scope of its infringing activities.”
This isn’t the first time Nike got territorial over Flyknit, as it sued Puma in 2018 and adidas in 2021 and ignited a lawsuit with Lululemon in January. Both cases with Puma and adidas were settled, but the Lululemon saga is ongoing.
In the end, Nike wants a federal judge to rule that New Balance and Skechers can no longer make shoes with Flyknit-like technology and wants to be awarded damages, though a specified amount wasn’t mentioned.
Nike debuted Flyknit back in 2012 in silhouettes like the Flynit Racer, Flyknit Trainers, Flyknit Chukka and eventually used it on the Kobe 9 Elite. Initially developed for runners who wanted minimalist sneakers that felt like socks, Nike created the material to be extremely supportive yet still breathable and flexible.
Nike describes the material as “made up of strong yet lightweight strands of yarn that have been woven into a one-piece upper,” adding that it’s based on the company’s in-depth study of the foot for over 40 years.
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