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MARKETING SPATS

Adidas and Nike going head-to-head over claimed patent infringement

By our News Team | 2021

Giant sporting equipment brands are at loggerheads, with Nike claiming its technological advances are being copied by Adidas.

Two of the word’s most prominent sporting brands are becoming locked in an unseemly marketing spat over allegations that the one has copied the technological advances of the other.

German-based Adidas and US-based Nike are the brands in question, with Nike attempting to block the importation into the US of the Adidas range of Primeknit sports shoes.

In papers filed with the International Trade Commission in Washington, Nike is alleging that the technology being used in the shoes is actually an infringement of patents that cover Nike’s FlyKnit technology.

The technology uses specialised yarn from recycled and reclaimed materials to create a sock-like fit in the upper part of the shoe. According to Nike, this is the result of more than a decade of research, most of which was done in the US.

Nike’s FlyKnit technology is said to be used by a number of top international sports stars – among them soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge and basketballer LeBron James.

Marketing Spats

Photo courtesy of Adidas

“And while Adidas unsuccessfully challenged Nike’s patents, it continued to use Nike’s patented technology without permission,” Nike said in the complaint. “Nike is now forced to bring this action to defend its investments in innovation to protect its technology by halting Adidas’ unauthorised use.”

Adidas, meanwhile, has vowed it will defend the allegations, with a spokesperson saying in a statement: “Our Primeknit technology resulted from years of dedicated research and shows our commitment to sustainability.”

According to an article published in Ad Age, the US trade agency is a popular forum for companies looking to derail rivals. The commission works more quickly than most courts, with final decisions typically in 15 to 18 months. Not only can it block products at the US border, the commission also can halt sales of products already brought into the country.

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