In a bold legal maneuver, Nike is taking on competitors New Balance and Skechers, accusing them of wrongfully tapping into Nike's proprietary Flyknit technology. This legal showdown adds another chapter to Nike's litigious history, which includes battles with Puma, Adidas, and Lululemon over similar claims.
At the crux of the matter is Flyknit, a revolutionary high-strength fiber developed by Nike for the upper parts of shoes. Known for its lightweight, supportive, and breathable properties, Flyknit represents more than a decade of Nike's meticulous research, emphasizing its role in reducing material waste. Nike claims to have saved 3.5 million pounds of waste and diverted 182 million plastic bottles from landfills by incorporating recycled polyester in Flyknit shoes.
Nike alleges that it sent cease-and-desist letters to New Balance, asserting that the infringement has not only persisted but intensified. The lawsuits claim that competitors, including Skechers, are utilizing Flyknit technologies without authorization.
Nike asserts ownership of Flyknit through nine patents filed between 2012 and 2023. The lawsuits specifically point fingers at New Balance's Fresh Foam X and Skechers' Ultra Flex 3.0, among other models, alleging infringement on Flyknit technology.
In response to the legal onslaught, New Balance expresses respect for intellectual property rights but challenges Nike's claim to exclusive rights over traditional manufacturing methods. Skechers, meanwhile, remains tight-lipped about the lawsuit.
Nike isn't merely seeking legal restraint; it aims for a federal judge to block New Balance and Skechers from selling shoes that mimic Flyknit material. The retail giant is also seeking damages, although the specific dollar amount is yet to be disclosed.
This legal drama follows Nike's previous settlements with Adidas and Puma, underscoring the company's unwavering commitment to defending its technological innovations. As the court proceedings unfold, the athletic footwear industry anticipates the next move in this high-stakes game of sneaker wars.