Nike today formally charged Brighton+based New Balance with infringing on several of its patents for producing pretty much everything in a sneaker above the sole and tread.
In its suit, filed today in US District Court in Boston, Nike accuses New Balance of swooshing in on it its patented Flyknit technology, which it says took a decade to develop and which "provides a novel method of designing and manufacturing shoe uppers, which enables Nike to create footwear with excellent performance, design, and aesthetics - all while reducing materials and waste."
Nike says New Balance and its third-party manufacturers continued to make sneakers pretty much the same way as Nike despite three letters Nike sent the company asking it to either stop or negotiate a licensing deal.
Nike is seeking a court order to bring New Balance to heel - by making it stop the alleged nonsense and by imposing enough damages to make it think twice about going down the court like that ever again.
In a statement, New Balance responded:
New Balance fully respects competitors’ intellectual property rights, but Nike does not own the exclusive right to design and produce footwear by traditional manufacturing methods that have been used in the industry for decades. We will vigorously defend ourselves against Nike’s attempts to enforce its patents beyond their lawful scope.
Complete complaint (1.8M PDF).