Nike Sues Puma For Copying Flyknit, Air, And More
Nike spends a lot of time, energy, and resources to create the world’s most game-changing innovations in the athletic sportswear industry. They spend just as much in protecting those properties to ensure no other brand is plagiarizing their work. On May 3rd, Nike sued Puma North America, alleging that the company was “forgoing independent innovation” and using Nike technology without permission. The complaint specifically points to Flyknit, which the Swoosh brand introduced in early 2012; the brand owns over 300 utility patent in the case of their prized knit upper, and four of those patents are currently at issue in this dispute with Puma. The German sportswear brand, over the last eighteen months or so, began introducing a bevy of their own knit shoes based on their own material called EVOknit.
Additionally, Nike claims Puma is using Air technology as well as their cleat assembly technologies; the Jamming silhouette, which features a large cavernous sole filled with tiny foam pebbles, appears to be a crossover of Nike’s Air Max technology and adidas’ BOOST foam.
Back in 2012, Nike infamously sued adidas for similar reasons. After introducing Flyknit in February of 2012, adidas introduced their own Primeknit just a few months later. While a German court ruled in favor of the complainant, forcing adidas to halt all production of Primeknit (they were only being produced in Germany at the time), it was later ruled in favor of defendant, allowing adidas to move forward with production of Primeknit footwear. Nike sued Skechers in 2015 as some of their footwear products appeared to be a direct copy of Flyknit.