Adidas is suing Nike for infringement of nine patents concerning shoe technology, smartphone apps, sensors and training devices. The lawsuit seen by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE alleged that several of Nike's apps including Nike Run Club, Nike Training Club, and Nike SNKRS have infringed adidas' patents concerning features such as heart rate monitors, GSP tracking, tracking athletic performance and providing feedback, training plans, and the ability to integrate third-party accessories such as heart rate monitors.
This is not the first time adidas has gone to court over these running and fitness features. In 2014, the sports brand sued Under Armour for its MapMyFitness app which resulted in both parties settling and Under Armour paying adidas a licencing fee. Adidas also slapped Asics with a lawsuit in 2017 for infringing various tech patents.
The lawsuit also cited adidas' Confirmed App which was launched in February 2015 and enables users to reserve and purchase limited-edition footwear. Shortly after, Nike rolled out its Nike SNKRS app which also allows users to purchase shoes from their devices, offering them the option to follow specific sneaker models, and learn more about the shoe history and design through exclusive content from Nike.
Adidas also cited Nike's Adapt app as infringing upon the adidas 1, which was launched in 2004 that sensed and adjusted the comfort of the shoe while the shoe was worn. Similarly, the Adapt app is touted by Nike on its website to be "a breakthrough lacing system" that electronically adjusts to the shape of one's foot.
"Adidas has long been a leader in mobile technology, including technology related to mobile fitness and mobile purchases. Adidas was the first in the industry to comprehensively bring data analytics to athletes," the lawsuit said. Adidas is suing Nike for damages and a court order that prevents Nike from "directly or indirectly infringing" of the patents involved, the lawsuit added. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Nike for comment.
This lawsuit comes after Nike requested the US International Trade Commission to block imports of multiple types of adidas shoes last December on the grounds that they "infringe patents covering its lightweight Flyknit design technology", as reported by Reuters previously. This is not the first time these two sportswear giants have crossed swords. In 2005, Nike also sued adidas, claiming that the latter's shoes violated two patterns concerning shoe design. The case was later dropped in 2007.
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