Nike has taken legal action against rival shoemakers, New Balance and Skechers, claiming patent infringement. The lawsuits, filed recently, allege that both companies have copied Nike’s “Flyknit technology,” a method considered a groundbreaking innovation in the sneaker industry over the past four decades.
Nike claims that the Flyknit method, which involved a decade of research and development, is a patented technology for crafting shoe uppers. Despite this patent protection, the company alleges that both New Balance and Skechers have incorporated this technology into their products without authorization, reports Reuters.
Nike is pursuing legal action on two fronts. They are seeking an injunction to stop their competitors from using Nike’s patented technology in their products and seeking monetary damages, although the exact amount remains unspecified.
What is Nike’s Flyknit technology?
Nike’s Flyknit technology is all about using strong fibres to create super-light uppers for shoes that offer the perfect blend of support, stretch, and breathability. Think of it like a snug sock that’s tough enough for any sport. They achieve this by weaving these lightweight yet robust yarns into a single-piece upper, ensuring a secure fit that keeps your foot right where it should be on the shoe. Plus, different parts of the shoe have different knit patterns – some are tight for support, while others are more flexible and let your feet breathe. Nike has figured out these patterns from over 40 years of studying feet to make sure each area of the shoe does its job right.
Statement by New Balance:
New Balance said that it “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.”
Skechers have not responded yet.