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Yesterday, we told you of Nike's $10 million lawsuit against former employees Denis Dekovic, Mark Dolce and Mark Miner. Today, the Portland Business Journal shared the gritty details of the suit and boy oh boy are they juicy.
Nike's lawsuit alleges that the design trio "conspired" together to steal trade secrets, strategic plans and product designs in order to get adidas to hire them for their own version of Nike's innovation lab, known as The Kitchen. The trio's history with the Swoosh dates back to October of 2005 when Dolce was hired by Nike as s senior designer for Active Life, which included a noncompete and secrecy agreement. Dekovic was hired a month later as a senior designer, while Miner signed on in March of 2008 as a designer in Women's Training.
Starting in 2012, Nike began an initiative known as the "Keep it Tight" campaign to prevent leaks of confidential information. After all three designers ascended through the company, signing more secrecy and noncompete agreements along the way, adidas vice president of global design for basketball Brian Foresta contacted both Dolce and Dekovic about possibly jumping ship to the Three Stripes. This is where things start to get hairy. In April of this year, Nike alleges that the trio started to plot their exit by stealing trade secrets and using personal email accounts for all communication. According to the Swoosh, the trio used "phony social media followers" to make themselves more attractive to their future employers, as Dekovic and Dolce devised a plan to pay for Instagram and Twitter followers.
If things weren't sketchy enough, yet, Dekovic got Nike to pay $50,000 in relocation expenses so that he could move his family to Italy, which according to Dekovic is a county where Nike's noncompete is "difficult to enforce." In June, the design trio began serving as consultants to adidas while still employed by Nike, raising legal concerns about leaving for the Three Stripes. After sending a copy his Nike noncompete to adidas, Dekovic and his family moved to Italy in July. A month later, the trio was offered lucrative job offers from adidas in which they eventually accepted in September.
Before taking the jobs at adidas, Nike alleges that Dekovic copied the hard drive of his Nike-issued lap top, while Dolce emailed confidential Nike design plans from his personal email account. On September 22, the trio clocked in for the last time at Nike, which brings us to this week when Nike filed the $10 million lawsuit for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets.
While so far all the details have been from Nike's side of the story, Dekovic spoke out for the first time yesterday on Instagram saying that the group had a "tremendous amount of respect" for Nike and would never do anything to "harm" them. Until we get more information from adidas, including the naming of a defendant in the case, you can check out Dekovic's full Instagram post below. Make sure to keep it locked with Sneaker Report for any further developments regarding these rather serious allegations from Nike.
. During our entire careers at Nike, we gave nothing but our maximum effort. We collectively poured in hours, passion and dedication beyond what was asked or expected of us, often prioritizing our jobs over our families. /// Until the very end, we stayed engaged, loyal and committed. We have a tremendous amount of respect for our colleagues and Nike and would never do anything to harm them. /// We find Nike’s allegations hurtful because they are either false or are misleading half-truths. We did not take trade secrets or intellectual property when we departed in September. /// We are looking forward to bringing new and innovative ideas and designs to adidas when our non-competition agreement expires.