Nike Sues Skechers, New Balance for Flyknit Patent Infringement

The Swoosh is taking on two athletic footwear giants over its signature knitted material.

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Nike is once again getting litigious over alleged infringement of its Flyknit technology.

In separate filings yesterday in the U.S. district courts of the central district of California and the district of Massachusetts, Nike is suing Skechers and New Balance, respectively, for what it calls unauthorized use of its patented technology.

The documents name dozens of Skechers models that Nike says infringe on its patents, specifically highlighting the below examples.

As for New Balance, Nike says "at least" 21 of its current models, some of which are pictured below, infringe upon the Swoosh's Flyknit trademark.

Nike holds a number of different patents for its Flyknit material, the first of which was granted in September 2012.

Nike has sued Skechers over alleged Flyknit infringement before, but this is the first time the brand has taken aim at New Balance. In January, Nike contacted New Balance in an attempt to flag the issue before going through with the lawsuit, but claims New Balance has instead "only escalated the scope of its infringing activities."

Also in January, Nike sued athletic apparel brand Lululemon for infringing on the Flyknit patents. That case is still pending.

New Balance issued the following statement on the matter: "New Balance fully respects competitors’ intellectual property rights, but Nike does not own the exclusive right to design and produce footwear by traditional manufacturing methods that have been used in the industry for decades. We will vigorously defend ourselves against Nike’s attempts to enforce its patents beyond their lawful scope."

When reached for comment, Skechers declined to comment on the pending litigation.

In both the New Balance and Skechers lawsuits, Nike is asking to be awarded damages and to prohibit both brands from continuing to produce the infringing products.

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