Why Adidas Is Taking Legal Action Against Asics

Adidas is heading back to court to defend its tech properties, this time taking aim against athletic brand Asics.

Parent company Adidas AG and Adidas America Inc. today filed a patent-infringement suit against Asics America Inc. and its technology partner, FitnessKeepers Inc., in a Delaware district court.

The case claims that Asics and FitnessKeepers have directly infringed on roughly 10 patents held by Adidas, related to such concepts as “products for providing information about a user during a physical activity,” “products that support real-time interactive communication and automated route generation” and “methods for determining workout plans and sessions.”

Asics purchased FitnessKeepers in early 2016 as a way to bolster its digital capabilities, which already included the My Asics coaching app. As part of the deal, the company acquired FitnessKeeper’s popular RunKeepers app, now used by more than 45 million people.

According to the filing by Adidas, Asics and FitnessKeepers have encouraged “customers to use the products in an infringing manner.” In addition, it states, “The defendants have acted in concert in the fitness technology marketplace and supported and encouraged the infringing activities of the other.”

That statement gives some hint to Adidas’ larger mission here: The athletic firm appears determined to defend its place in the tech world.

In 2014, Adidas filed a similar lawsuit against Under Armour Inc. and MapMyFitness Inc., highlighting three patents that it claimed were infringed upon. That case was settled in mediation in May 2016, with Under Armour and MapMyFitness payimg a “confidential licensing fee” to Adidas.

In this latest suit against Asics, Adidas has filed multiple claims of direct and indirect infringement, and is seeking a permanent injunction restraining Asics and FitnessKeepers from any activities that violate its patents. It also is requesting compensation in the form of damages that are “not less than a reasonable royalty.”

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