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Nike and Skechers Rivalry Heats Up With Fourth Patent Lawsuit

For the fourth time, Nike and Skechers will be taking their grievances to court.

In the latest lawsuit between the two brands, Nike alleges Skechers has again copied one of its designs, specifically the patented technology within its Nike Joyride footwear line.

The case, filed in the Central District Court of California on Monday, will join three others put forth by Nike in its attempt to cut down on what its legal team deemed “Skecherized” products—”knockoffs,” in the words of the brand’s counsel.

“Instead of innovating its own designs and technologies, Skechers’ business strategy includes copying its competitors’ designs and using innovative technologies developed by others to gain market share,” Nike’s complaint read. “This is not the first time Skechers has infringed Nike’s intellectual property rights. This is the fourth lawsuit in a series of lawsuits that Nike, and its subsidiary Converse Inc., have filed against Skechers asserting a range of intellectual property rights.”

In this case, Nike is claiming that the design of two Skechers products, the Skech-Air Jumpin’ Dots and the Skech-Air Mega, infringe upon the patents Nike was awarded for the Joyride before its release in July. Nike’s complaint provided two “claims for relief” to combat the alleged infringement, each targeting the similarity between the cushioning systems found in both sneakers.

Nike files fourth lawsuit against skecher in newest court case
The infringing Skechers products, according to Nike’s complaint. Courtesy of Court Filing

Nike also responded to Skechers’ claim that Nike is a “bully” when it comes to taking legal action in defense of its patents. In an ad released in the Portland Business Journal earlier in October, Skechers claimed Nike had contacted its retail partners and warned them against selling Skechers products that could be infringing on patents. Not only did the ad fail to deny the claims presented in its first three lawsuits, but Nike said its wording even suggested Skechers was able to occasionally “get away with” patent infringement. The sportswear giant also offered its own interpretation of a United States International Trade Commission (USITC) ruling that Skechers claimed was made in its favor in a case involving Converse’s Chuck Taylor sneaker.

While acknowledging that the case is still ongoing, Nike said the same ruling found that “other Skechers’ shoes have midsole designs that are identical or nearly identical to Converse’s Chuck Taylor midsole design” and that Skechers’ “Twinkle Toes” and “Bobs” styles were not found to be infringing was only “part of the story.”

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“Nike’s enforcement of its intellectual property rights against infringers, including copyists like Skechers, is not bullying and it does not stifle competition. The opposite is true,” the brand’s complaint read. “If companies like Nike cannot defend their innovation—and if companies like Skechers are permitted to build multi-billion-dollar businesses on the backs of creators and innovators by copying designs and technologies year-after-year—it stifles innovation and competition for businesses both big and small.”

Skechers has yet to respond to the new complaint.