Nike accuses Adidas of copying designs

Nike has accused Adidas of copying the Oregon-based company’s patented inventions for a knitted fabric that reduces waste without a loss of performance.

The sportswear giant has asked a US trade agency to block imports of a large range of Adidas AG Primeknit shoes as a result.

The complaint, which was filed this week at the International Trade Commission in Washington, seeks to ban imports of shoes, which include Adidas by Stella McCartney Ultraboost, Pharrell Williams Superstar Primeknit Shoes and Terrex Free Hiker hiking shoes.

Adidas’ main rival also filed a patent-infringement lawsuit in federal court in Oregon with similar allegations.

Nike’s FlyKnit technology, which has been adopted by Manchester United footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and basketball legend LeBron James, uses specialised yarn from recycled materials to create a sock-like fit in the upper part of the shoe.

Nike has said that the creation was the result of more than $100 million in investment and a decade of research, representing “the first major technology innovation in footwear uppers in decades.”

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“Unlike Nike, Adidas has forgone independent innovation,” Nike said in a court filing.

“Instead, Adidas spent the past decade unsuccessfully challenging several of Nike’s patents directed to FlyKnit technology — all while using Nike’s patented technology without permission.”

Nike added that it was “forced to bring this action to defend its investments in innovation to protect its technology by halting Adidas’ unauthorised use.”

Adidas responded by saying it’s analysing the complaint and “will defend ourselves against the allegations.”

“Our Primeknit technology resulted from years of dedicated research and shows our commitment to sustainability,” Adidas spokeswoman Mandy Nieber told Businessoffashion.

The US trade agency is a popular destination for companies to derail rivals in the world’s largest marke, decisions are usually made quickly, typically within 15 to 18 months.

Not only can it block products at the US border, it can halt sales of products already brought into the country, an order that’s harder to get in district court.

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