Nike Sues Skechers Again for Allegedly Copying Its Footwear Innovations

Nike Inc. has gone back to court against Skechers USA Inc.

In documents filed today with the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, the sportswear giant alleged that Skechers infringed on patents for its Air and other footwear cushioning technologies through the Skech-Air Jumpin’ Dots and Mega shoes.

In the suit, Nike called out features on the Skech-Air Jumpin’ Dots and Mega shoes, such as sole structures with a “fluid-filled bladder” and “plurality of foam beads” filling the cavity of the shoes, which the Swoosh said are similar to the technology features on its footwear.

Nike claimed that Skechers’ alleged infringement had been “willful, intentional and deliberate” and is seeking  damages as well as a permanent injunction from the court for the allegedly offending designs.

“Nike’s enforcement of its intellectual property rights against infringers, including copyists like Skechers, is not bullying and it does not stifle competition,” the lawsuit read. “These rights encourage companies like Nike and the talented inventors who work at the company to engage in the creative, difficult and resource-intensive endeavor of innovation.”

In a statement to FN, a Nike spokesperson added, “Nike has a strong history of innovation and leadership in footwear design and development. We innovate to help athletes reach their potential, and we vigorously defend and enforce the intellectual property that protects those innovations.”

Skechers told FN that it does not comment on pending litigation.

Nike Inc. v. Skechers USA Inc.
An exhibit in Nike Inc. v. Skechers USA Inc.
CREDIT: U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

It marks the fourth lawsuit Nike has filed against the lifestyle-performance sneaker brand in recent years, the first of which was brought against Skechers by Nike subsidiary Converse Inc. in 2014. That five-year saga centered on the famous Chuck Taylor midsole trademark. In a recent development on Oct. 9, a judge for the U.S. International Trade Commission found that Skechers’ Twinkle Toes and Bobs product lines did not infringe on Converse’s midsole trademark.

The Beaverton, Ore.-based brand has also accused Skechers of copying its patented Free and Flyknit designs as well as its VaporMax and Air Max 270 sneakers. (Both lawsuits are still pending in court.) In the latter suit, which was filed in late September, Nike claimed that Skechers had made “Skecherized versions” of its shoes in an attempt to gain market share.

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