Adidas sues Nike over run-tracking, shoe-adjusting technologies

An Adidas shoe is seen in a store at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, New York, U.S., February 15, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Adidas said a range of Nike tech violates a variety of patents
  • New lawsuit comes after Nike sued Adidas over sneaker designs

(Reuters) – Adidas AG sued Nike Inc on Friday for allegedly infringing its patents with its mobile applications and shoe-fitting technology, marking Adidas’ first federal lawsuit against its rival in a long-running fight between the world’s two biggest sneaker brands.

The lawsuit filed in East Texas federal court said Nike’s Run Club, Training Club and SNKRS mobile apps and Adapt system for adjusting sneaker fits violate nine Adidas patents for exercise monitoring, an “intelligent footwear” system, and other technology.

Adidas said it has a history of developing mobile-fitness technology including the “world’s first intelligent running shoe” in 2004, the “first fully integrated training system combining sensors in shoes and wearable devices” in 2005, and personal training apps starting in 2008.

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Adidas’ lawsuit follows Nike’s December complaints against the company in Oregon federal court and at the U.S. International Trade Commission, where it accused Adidas’ shoes of infringing patents related to its Flyknit sneaker design.

Both the Oregon lawsuit and request for the ITC to block imports of Adidas shoes are still pending.

Nike also sued Adidas in East Texas in 2005, alleging several Adidas shoes violated two patents related to shoe design. The companies agreed to drop that case in 2007.

The companies and Adidas’ attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Friday lawsuit.

Adidas accused Nike’s exercise apps of infringing patents covering features that include location-based run tracking, audio feedback on performance, and a system for creating a training plan.

Adidas has its own training and running apps that it said have been downloaded by millions of users.

Digital revenue is an important source of overall growth for Nike and was up 22 percent in the third quarter of 2021, according to a company report.

Adidas also accused Nike’s Adapt system, which automatically loosens or tightens shoelaces based on the shape of the wearer’s foot, of violating its patents for an “intelligent footwear” system that adjusts a shoe’s cushioning based on what the wearer is doing.

The company also said Nike’s SNKRS app for selling limited-edition shoes infringes a patent related to confirming a potential buyer’s authenticity.

Germany-based Adidas asked the court for an unspecified amount of money damages and an order blocking Nike from infringing.

The case is Adidas AG v. Nike Inc, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, No. 2:22-cv-00198.

For Adidas: Mitchell Stockwell, Michael Morlock and Matias Ferrario of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

For Nike: not available

Read more:

Nike asks U.S. agency to block Adidas shoe imports, citing patents

Nike prevails in shoe patent dispute with Adidas

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Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

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