Three Ex-Nike Designers Have Begun Work at adidas

Marc Dolce, Denis Dekovic and Mark Miner are now adidas employees. The three former Nike designers were ensnared in a nasty legal battle with the company, which claimed that they stole millions of dollars worth of trade secrets when they left for adidas in 2014. The designers now work for the company out of Brooklyn, New York, where Adidas will soon open a creative studio.

Per Portland Business Journal, “Industry analysts called the hirings of Dolce, Dekovic and Miner a ‘key step’ in adidas' effort to get back on track in North America, a critical market where it had lost ground against Nike and Under Armour. adidas has done that, likely without contributions from the three designers who have seemingly sat on the sidelines for more than a year due to standard non-compete clauses.”

You may recall that in December 2014, Nike filed a $10 million lawsuit against three of its former senior shoe designers, accusing them of stealing its trade secrets and joining rival, Adidas. Specifically, the Oregon-based sportswear giant alleged that former Nike employees, Denis Dekovic, Marc Dolce and Mark Miner violated their non-compete agreements by stealing years worth of trade secret information (think: confidential design and business documents, including drawings for unreleased shoes made for one of Nike’s sponsored athletes) and taking that info to Adidas where they are setting up a copycat of Nike's design studio.

To this, the three designers filed claims against Nike, accusing the company of creating a "culture of distrust and intimidation" which caused them to seek employment elsewhere; hacking their phones, emails and social media accounts; and filing this "meritless" lawsuit purely as a "publicity stunt." The case was ultimately settled out of court in June 2015.

According to a statement released by the designers’ counsel, "The case was resolved through a confidential settlement.” The settlement comes on the eve of a June 10th deposition of Nike chief executive Mark Parker, which Nike’s counsel fought, contending that the request amounted to harassment. The parties were also scheduled to head to trial on the near future, on June 22nd through the 26th. A spokeswoman for Adidas said the company would not comment.