Let the games begin: Nike Flyknit versus adizero Primeknit – in court
25th September 2012, Nuremberg
Just weeks after the closing of the Olympics, Nike has been 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.
In a statement last night Nike said:
“We are pleased the District Court in Nuremberg has granted our application for an interim injunction against adidas for patent infringement by the “adizero primeknit” shoe released in July, 2012. As a result, adidas has been ordered to stop the manufacture and distribution of the shoe in Germany.”
“Nike has a strong heritage of innovation and leadership in footwear design and development. Our patents are the foundation of that leadership and we protect them vigorously. In this case, the injunction helps protect the innovative Nike Flyknit footwear technology Nike introduced in February, 2012.”
“We look forward to presenting our case for a permanent injunction to the court.”
On the 22 February Knitting Industry published Nike Flyknit a seamlessly knitted running shoe!, an article announcing the launch of Nike Flyknit with details of how it could be manufactured. This was followed by two further articles which explained in detail exactly how Flyknit was made with, comments from Nike:
Then on 26 July on the eve of the opening ceremony of the Olympics, adidas announced the launch of adizero Primeknit a shoe with the same flat knitting seamless concept as Nike Flyknit. Although there are differences in how the rival shoes are knitted, there are also lots of similarities. The following articles cover the adidas launch announcement and how the Primeknit shoe is made (including video):
Oregon based Nike holds a number of patents which cover the knitting of one piece trainer uppers using both warp and weft knitting (flat and circular knitting) technologies. In the case of warp and circular knitting, two dimensionally knitted shoe upper panels are knitted side by side and are later cut from the fabric and seamed before being attached to other shoe components. But the flat knitting method which Flyknit uses allows the shoe upper to exit the machine complete in one piece.
As we said at the Flyknit launch, this is a real revolutionary product and probably the most important non-apparel application for the flat knitting industry ever, so expect a real battle between the two sports shoe giants.
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Author: Billy Hunter