US Supreme Court Denies to Hear Nike vs. adidas Patent Case

(Lead image via Nike)

After a long-running battle over sneaker design patents, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear Nike Inc.’s appeal versus adidas AG.

The two sportswear competitors have been at it for a number of years now, disputing disagreements over sneaker patents that Nike filed to protect the design of its knit sneakers.

Despite Nike’s unwavering dedication, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Swoosh’s appeal to overturn the U.S. Patent Office tribunal’s decision which canceled part of a shoe patent during a dispute with adidas.

Court documents revealed that Nike was challenging the tribunal’s ruling that invalidated the proposed substitute patent elements put forth by the company. Nike argues that adidas did not raise the arguments against these elements during the initial proceedings.

In March 2008, Nike was granted a patent that specified the company’s ownership of the knit made from “different stitch configurations with varying textures,” used to make a single textile “upper.”

Following the initial patent award, adidas filed a petition to review Nike’s patent, contending that the patent’s claims lacked patentability and were obvious considering several prior-art references, including existing patents.

In response, Nike sought to amend the patent by canceling the previously granted claims and proposing new substitute claims. While most of the proposed substitute claims faced no opposition, adidas challenged one specific claim related to shoelace apertures in Nike’s knit upper sneaker designs. adidas argued that these substitute claims were still unpatentable due to their obviousness in light of prior art.

This led to a series of exchanges between the parties, resulting in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sending the case back to the board twice. Nike’s subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court was also rejected last year. Finally, in March, Nike officially submitted its petition to the Supreme Court.

The ongoing legal clash between the sportswear giants marks their latest court battle. In August 2022, Nike and adidas reached a settlement to resolve a series of disputes over U.S. patents regarding sneaker technology.

The conflict initially emerged in December 2021 when Nike Inc. filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court District of Oregon, accusing adidas AG of infringing on multiple footwear patents, specifically highlighting Nike’s Flyknit technology. Nike’s suit specifically pointed out adidas’s Primeknit shoes as an alleged example of a product that violated Nike’s patents.

In a response to the ongoing legal disputes, adidas filed a lawsuit of its own in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in June of the previous year. The countersuit by adidas claimed that Nike knowingly and intentionally infringed on nine patents associated with adidas’ proprietary athletic technology.

The lawsuit specifically called out Nike’s Run Club app, Nike Training Club app, and Nike SNKRS app, alleging that they contained elements that infringed on adidas’ patents. Additionally, the complaint raised concerns about Nike’s software that connects to its shoes through a remote device, which is utilized in the Nike Adapt, HyperAdapt, and the 2016 Nike Mag.

Both of these legal battles were eventually settled in 2022.

For more sneaker news and release dates, follow @NiceKicks on Twitter.

Nike Inc. vs. adidas AG court documents via the U.S. Supreme Court

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