Nike’s CEO launches aggressive strategy to protect the company’s intellectual property

Nike’s chief executive John Donahoe has laid out an aggressive strategy to protect its intellectual property after it has taken Adidas, Lululemon and StockX to court in the past two months.

Donahoe’s digital-first approach has mainly been characterised by massive investments in technology that has been developed through decades of research, which it is now trying very hard to protect.

The company filed a lawsuit against reselling platform StockX on Thursday for allegedly selling virtual trainers as NFTs.

Its suit accused StockX of infringing Nike trademarks after Nike developed similar technology itself, which it has coined “CryptoKicks”.

One of the NFTs was sold for $7,500 after the virtual trainers were made available on the platform.

Sportswear giant Nike has traditionally been fairly aggressive about protecting its intellectual property, however Donahoe has increased efforts as part of a digital-first push.

As part of the push the company has gone head to head with some of the space’s biggest names, including its main rival Adidas, which it alleged stole intellectual property over its woven-shoe technology.

Nike asked the US International Trade Commission to halt Adidas imports of the of the allegedly patent infringing products, which market analysts at the time said was aggressive.

READ MORE: Nike appoints SNKRS app VP to lead new Virtual Studios division

It has also recently taken a stronger stance against counterfeiters who use platforms including Amazon and Ebay to sell fake shoes.

Donahoe was Ebay’s chief executive from 2008 to 2015.

Neither Ebay or Amazon are actually named as defendants in the suit, however they are both used as examples of ecommerce marketplaces where counterfeiters sell their fake goods.

The defendants are “individuals and business entities of unknown makeup” who “conceal their identities” and “make it virtually impossible for Nike to learn defendants’ true identities,” the lawsuit said.

Nike also sued Lululemon last month, accusing it of infringing its intellectual property on six patents involving the athleisure brand’s fitness mirror, which allows athletes to track performance, statistics and compete with other users.

Both Adidas and Lululemon have either denied the allegations or haven’t responded to them formerly.

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