Nike and Puma are taking their rivalry to court.
Nike filed suit against Puma for purported patent infringement in a Massachusetts federal court Thursday. The Oregon-based athleticwear giant accused Westford, Mass.-based Puma North America of multiple counts of patent infringement related to unauthorized use of its Flyknit, Air and cleat assembly technologies. Nike has asked Puma to stop using these methods, but Puma has refused to do so, according to the Swoosh.
“Puma … has forgone independent innovation and is instead using Nike’s technologies without permission,” the lawsuit reads.
Nike’s Flyknit features uppers made from a single knitted material. The brand began the series in 2012 with its Flyknit Racer and the Flyknit Trainer+.
With Puma’s Ignite footwear, released in 2015, Nike alleges that its competitor violated four U.S. patents: 7,637,032, 8,266,749, 9,078,488 and 9,375,046.
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With respect to Nike Air technology — which relates to footwear sole structures — Nike alleges Puma violated U.S. patent 7,401,420, which was issued to the brand in 2008. The 420 patent protects footwear “having a fluid-filled bladder with a reinforcing structure.”
Nike claims a 2017 Puma sneaker, The Jamming, is in violation of this patent because it is “an article of footwear comprising: a sole structure incorporating a fluid-filled bladder and a reinforcing structure secured to the bladder.”
As for its cleat assembly technology, Nike alleges Puma is in violation of patents 6,973,746 and 9,314,065. According to the Swoosh, Puma first infringed upon these patents with the 2015 release of its evoSpeed SL FG and has continued to do so with subsequent releases.
Nike is seeking a permanent injunction against Puma and requesting that damages be rewarded.
Meanwhile, Puma does not believe it infringed upon any patents, and plans to continue production of its products.
“Puma perceives that there are no patent infringements in this case. We will do everything to defend ourselves against these accusations,” corporate communications director Ulf Santjer wrote. “This is not a preliminary injunction, and the filed lawsuit will not have an impact on our current collections.”
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