The legal battle was launched in the California federal court on November 6, with Nike accusing Skechers of infringing on its Flyknit patents. The lawsuit was equally filed against footwear competitor New Balance.
At the heart of the dispute is Nike’s claim that Skechers violated its Flyknit patents, a revolutionary technology known for its lightweight yarn intricately woven into a one-piece shoe upper. Skechers, however, denies any wrongdoing, labeling the lawsuit as baseless.
A spokesperson for Skechers issued a statement, asserting the company’s long-standing history of designing shoes with knit uppers for nearly a decade: “We believe that this lawsuit is baseless. Many brands have been making shoes using knit uppers for years. Skechers has been designing shoes using various forms of knit uppers for close to a decade. Skechers respects the intellectual property rights of other companies and invests tremendous resources into developing its own unique styles and footwear technology rather than preying on the rights of others.”
The legal dispute takes on a broader dimension as Skechers accuses Nike of leveraging its market power to potentially monopolize the footwear and sports apparel industries.
“Skechers believes that this lawsuit is an example of how Nike uses its vast financial resources to stifle competition rather than compete in the marketplace. Skechers also believes that Nike uses its market power in an attempt to monopolize the footwear and sports apparel industries through exclusive arrangements, which, as a practical matter, forecloses viable and meaningful competition for high-profile athletic sponsorships. Skechers expects to completely vindicate itself and is looking forward to its day in court.”
Nike has previously sued Adidas, Puma and Lululemon for infringing Flyknit patents. While Adidas and Puma have settled their respective lawsuits with Nike, the legal battle against Lululemon is still underway.
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