Blog: Playing off patents
Leonie Barrie | 20 February 2006
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Nike’s decision to file a patent infringement lawsuit against its rival Adidas-Salomon for allegedly copying its Shox cushioning technology. After all, the technology will have taken years to develop and perfect, it has been helping to drive sales, and is protected until 2021 to ensure against bootlegging. But for Nike to wait for three years before taking legal action seems ludicrous! Of course if Nike has only just been alerted to the alleged copying then it’s perfectly entitled to file suit – but it’s hard to believe that the sportswear company doesn’t follow its rivals’ moves on a day-to-day basis.
There’s always another side to the coin though – and could it have something to do with Adidas’ recent $3.8bn purchase of Reebok, which has significantly narrowed the gap between the world’s top two sporting goods companies? After all, look at the evidence. Nike has targeted some of Adidas’ highest-profile products in this latest filing, including its Adidas 1 shoes. But a year ago the tables were turned when Adidas sued Nike for selling workout pants with two parallel stripes along the seam which were deemed too similar to Adidas’ trademark three-stripe logo. The words throw, toys and pram all spring to mind.
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