Nike has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission in Washington, asking the agency to block the import of a wide range of Adidas Primeknit shoes.
The Oregon-based company alleges that Adidas copied its patented FlyKnit technology, which utilizes yarn developed from recycled and reclaimed materials to create a knitted fabric that gives the upper part of its shoes a sock-like fit. According to Nike, the company spent over a decade developing the fabric and “represented the first major technology innovation in footwear uppers in decades.”
The knitted fabric was introduced in the market ahead of the 2012 London Olympics and shoes that utilize the technology are today used by the likes of basketball legend LeBron James, soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and world record marathoner Eliud Kipchoge.
In its complaint, Nike noted that Adidas and its various brands have “forgone independent innovation” and have instead put their focus on invalidating Nike’s research.
“And while Adidas unsuccessfully challenged Nike’s patents, it continued to use Nike’s patented technology without permission,” Nike said in the complaint. “Nike is now forced to bring this action to defend its investments in innovation to protect its technology by halting Adidas’ unauthorized use.”
Adidas refuted Nike’s claim and said that it plans to defend itself against the allegations.
“Our Primeknit technology resulted from years of dedicated research and shows our commitment to sustainability,” Mandy Nieber, an Adidas spokeswoman, said.