Footwear company Skechers has announced that it will “vigorously defend” the patent suit filed against it by Nike in California federal court on 6 November.

NIKE has accused both Skechers and fellow footwear brand New Balance of misusing its Flyknit technology on several athletic shoe products.

The Flyknit technology, which is designed for running, soccer and basketball shoes, uses high-strength fibres and aims to offer lightweight uppers with targeted areas of support, breathability and stretch. Skechers describes it as “A lightweight yarn woven into a one-piece shoe upper”.

A Skechers spokesperson stated: “We believe that this lawsuit is baseless. Many brands have been making shoes using knit uppers for years. Skechers has been designing shoes using various forms of knit uppers for close to a decade. Skechers respects the intellectual property rights of other companies and invests tremendous resources into developing its own unique styles and footwear technology rather than preying on the rights of others.”

The company believes that Nike uses its financial resources and market power to “stifle competition rather than compete in the marketplace” and “attempt to monopolise the footwear and sports apparel industries through exclusive arrangements, which, as a practical matter, forecloses viable and meaningful competition for high-profile athletic sponsorships”.

Nike has demanded an unspecified amount of money damages and court orders that would permanently prevent the two companies from infringing the patents. Skechers expects to “fully vindicate itself”.

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By GlobalData

GlobalData identifies both Nike and Skechers as major players in the global apparel and footwear market, making this a crucial lawsuit for the industry.