Nike Claims adidas Shoes Infringe on Patents, Attempt to Block Imports
On December 8., Nike filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission asking it to block imports of 49 adidas shoe designs utilizing Primeknit technology, claiming that they infringe upon six Nike patents related to its Flyknit design technology.
According to an email sent to Reuters by a company spokesperson, adidas is analyzing the complaint and plans to defend itself against Nike’s allegations, who said Primeknit “resulted from years of dedicated research.”
In its complaint, Nike says that its Flyknit technology allows the company to create lifestyle apparel and gear for soccer, basketball running and other sports that “excels in performance, design, and aesthetics while reducing materials and waste.” In the filing, Nike name-drops LeBron James and Cristiano Ronald as the highest-profile wearers of Flyknit-equipped footwear, amongst others.
Last year, adidas was unsuccessful in its attempt to invalidate two Nike, Inc. patents in a case heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Nike cited adidas lifestyle shoes, football cleats, running shoes, and hiking shoes amongst those which infringe on its Flyknits patents, namely, the Ultra BOOST, Terrex, and X Speedflow lines, among others. Nike also clarifies that adidas introduced its Primeknit technology five months after Nike announced Flyknit in 2012.
Should these block pass, it will only add to the woes of adidas who, like many other importers in the US, are struggling with a backlog of delays on production. adidas said it’s expecting sales to take a 1 billion Euro ($1.2 billion USD) hit over the next two quarters because of factory closures in Vietnam and supply chain bottlenecks— And adidas doesn’t expect to reach full production capacity until next year, saying that will lead to a 400 million Euro ($462 million USD) sales impact this year and a 600 million Euro ($693 million USD) jolt early next year.
Nike is also suffering from COVID constraints, which said it had lost 10 weeks of production because of factory closures in Vietnam and Indonesia back in September, noting that transit times in North America are now almost double pre-pandemic levels.