UPDATE: New Balance has provided a statement in regards to Nike's lawsuit.
“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. We will vigorously defend ourselves against Nike’s attempts to enforce its patents beyond their lawful scope.”
The original story continues below.
Nike has initiated legal action against competitors New Balance and Skechers, alleging that these companies have infringed upon its patented Flyknit technology. This development was first reported by Reuters, marking another chapter in Nike’s vigilant protection of its innovative knitting technology for shoe uppers.
The legal confrontations, which materialized in the form of federal lawsuits filed on Monday, pinpoint multiple shoe models from New Balance and Skechers that Nike contends are utilizing its proprietary Flyknit technology without permission. Notably, this is not Nike’s first time at the legal battleground defending its Flyknit patents, having previously filed lawsuits against other industry heavyweights like adidas, Puma, and Lululemon. While settlements were reached with adidas and Puma, the skirmish with Lululemon persists. Outside of Flyknit, Nike has taken a variety of brands to court in the last year, including BAPE.
The crux of Nike’s legal claim in this case rests on allegations that New Balance and Skechers have appropriated this technology for their ranges, including New Balance’s Fresh Foam and FuelCell lines and Skechers’ Ultra Flex and Glide Step collections. Nike’s legal documents, filed respectively in federal courts in Massachusetts and Los Angeles, assert that these products infringe upon its patent rights. As the legal proceedings unfold, Nike is not only seeking monetary damages but also a decisive court order to bar New Balance and Skechers from further alleged infringements permanently. The specifics of the damages Nike is pursuing have not been disclosed.
The outcome of these lawsuits could have significant implications for the sneaker market, potentially influencing design trajectories and intellectual property strategies. The protection of innovation is a fundamental driver in the fiercely competitive athletic footwear sector, and Nike's recent actions reaffirm its intent to remain at the forefront, not only in product development but also in the safeguarding of its technological domain.
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