On the heels of a lawsuit that adidas filed against fellow footwear maker, Skechers USA, for copying, Nike has filed a patent infringement suit against Skechers, as well. In its lawsuit, which was filed on Monday in federal court in Portland, Oregon, Nike claims that Skechers’ “Burst, Women’s Flex Appeal, Men’s Flex Advantage, Girl’s Skech Appeal, and Boy’s Flex Advantage” shoe styles infringe at least eight of Nike’s design patents. The sportswear giant further alleges that the "overall appearance of the designs of the Nike patents and the corresponding designs of Skechers' infringing shoes are substantially the same;” namely, they resemble Nike’s Flyknit design.
According to its complaint, Nike alleges that “Skechers intended to copy the designs covered by the NIKE Patents” and as a result, “an ordinary observer will perceive the overall appearance of the designs of the NIKE Patents and the corresponding designs of Skechers’ Infringing Shoes to be substantially the same.” The complaint cites a recent Complex article by Riley Jones, which “describes the Skechers’ Burst Infringing Shoe as having ‘ripped off’ NIKE’s ‘Flyknit” design,’” which embody a number of the design patents at issue.
In its suit, which sets forth a single claim for design patent infringement, Nike is seeking a permanent injunction, which would immediately and permanently prevent Skechers from selling the allegedly infringing sneakers. The sportswear giant is also seeking a judgment and order requiring Skechers to pay NIKE all damages caused by Skechers’ infringement of each of the NIKE Patents, which could easily add up to millions of dollars, especially when combined with the court disgorging Skechers of all profits it made from sales of the allegedly infringing sneakers.
For a hint of irony, consider the fact that alleged copycat Skechers sued even more notorious copycat Steve Madden Ltd. this summer for allegedly infringing seven of its own design patents. According to a statement from Skechers, while filed suit in connection with its woven GO WALK® shoe, “Considering our investment in the SKECHERS GO WALK® and our other product lines, we will not allow anyone to infringe on some of our most valuable intellectual properties.”