Adidas wins round one in flat knitted shoe fight
24th October 2012, Germany
Media reports emerged this afternoon which say adidas may be able to sell its adizero Primeknit running shoe with flat knitted upper in Germany from next month after a court ruled that a temporary injunction brought by rival Nike is not sustainable.
In late September just weeks after the closing of the Olympics, Nike was granted an interim injunction against adidas for patent infringement by adidas’ adizero Primeknit shoe which it released in July on the eve of the London games.
The patent or patents in question protect Nike’s revolutionary Flyknit shoe range which sport seamlessly knitted uppers produced on Stoll flat knitting machines.
The injunction halted the sale and production of the Adidas product, arguing that the shoe was a copy of Nike’s Flyknit shoe, which launched in February.
According to Reuters’ Frankfurt office, the court in Nuremberg, Germany, said today that, after hearing the Adidas case, it intended to set the injunction aside on 7th November.
Both shoes are produced on flat knitting machines and adidas even released a movie (see below) showing how they were knitted on a Stoll flat knitting machine and subsequently assembled in the same factory in Germany.
Watch the adizero Primeknit movie
Nike has been more guarded about how and where it manufactures Flyknit shoes but the company has hired a number of highly skilled flat knitting technicians in the USA and is believed to be knitting the Flyknit uppers in a factory in China.
Adidas launched adizero Primeknit on the eve of the London Olympics, releasing only a symbolic 2012 pairs, which are said to cost around £220 pounds ($350) per pair.
Nike on the other hand has introduced a number of ranges of shoes incorporating Flyknit technology – catering for the casual runner to the professional athlete. Flyknit is in big demand and it has been quite difficult to actually buy a pair.
Reuters says that adidas said on Wednesday that: “It had filed for cancellation of the Nike patent, arguing the technology involved in making the shoe's upper from fused yarn has been around since the 1940s.”
"adidas vigorously denies the alleged patent infringement." it said.
Nike, which had been seeking to make the injunction permanent, told Knitting Industry tonight:
“This is just one step in the process. We will continue to aggressively protect our intellectual property rights, including through the conclusion of this interim injunction proceeding as well as in a formal infringement case.”
Author: Billy Hunter