On the heels of a trademark infringement lawsuit that adidas filed against fellow footwear maker Skechers USA in September 2015, Nike is doubling down, filing a patent infringement suit against Skechers, as well. In its complaint, 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 Flyknit-specific design patents, as the “overall appearance of the designs of the Nike patents and the corresponding designs of Skechers’ infringing shoes are substantially the same.”
According to the newly-filed complaint, counsel for Nike alleges that “Skechers intended to copy the designs covered by [its] 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.” As an example, Nike points of a recent Complex article, which “describes the Skechers’ Burst shoes as having ‘ripped off’ Nike’s ‘Flyknit” design.’”
As a result, Nike is seeking injunctive relief, which would immediately and permanently prevent Skechers from making and selling the allegedly infringing sneakers. The sportswear giant is also seeking a judgment and order requiring Skechers to pay Nike all damages caused by its alleged’ infringement of each of the Nike patents, a figure that 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.
And 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.”