Reebok International Ltd. has filed a lawsuit against Nike, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claiming Nike infringed on a patent arising from ReebokÂs collapsible shoe technology. The complaint identifies several Nike menÂs and womenÂs shoes that
infringe upon ReebokÂs patented flexible sole technology, which also allows shoes to be collapsedÂ for travel or for packaging. Infringing products include 11 different Nike shoes marketed underÂ the ÂFree,Â ÂFree Flex,Â ÂFree Zen & Now,Â ÂFree Trainer,Â and ÂFree TrailÂ product names.
The Reebok patent protects technological design features of a system that includes flexibleÂ materials in the productÂs sole. The suit alleges that despite ReebokÂs patent protection, NikeÂ Âwilfully and intentionallyÂ developed shoes that use ReebokÂs technology. Diana Wainrib, ChiefÂ Counsel for Reebok said: ÂReebok is a recognized innovator with a commitment to continuousÂ improvement of footwear technology for the benefit of our consumers. We will act to protect ourÂ research and development efforts whenever companies try to claim Reebok technology as their own.
In January of this year, the U.S. patent was issued for ReebokÂs flexible sole shoe technology.Â This technology is part of a research and development legacy that includes The Pump, an air-filledÂ bladder first introduced in 1989 that can be manually or automatically inflated the DMXÂ air-cushioning system in use since 1996, and, more recently, KFS, a kinetic fit system in whichÂ stretchable material in the shoe allows panels to move independently to improve fit throughout theÂ gait. Reebok International Ltd., headquartered in Canton, Massachusetts, is a leading worldwideÂ designer, marketer and distributor of sports, fitness and casual footwear, apparel and equipment.Â A subsidiary of the adidas Group, the company operates under the multiple divisions of the ReebokÂ brand, Reebok-CCM Hockey and the Sports Licensed Division.