Nike is possibly one of the most recognisable brands across the world, and this is due to their strong approach to IP.
They would be the first to pounce on a company who stepped out of line with their IP, but it seems they don’t keep such a close eye on their use of other companies’ copyright.
Nike are the subject of a copyright infringement and breach of contract lawsuit, over its longstanding software usage.
In 2001, Nike signed a licensing agreement with Quest Software for use of software in relation to cloud management, security and database management.
As reported in the lawsuit, this software included a number of copyright protected elements.
To access these elements, Quest required customers to enter a license key.
However, in a bid to get around this, a number of online sites created pirated license keys, other users to access the material without the need to pay the correct license fee. These keys were available on sites such as BitTorrent.
Quest claims that Nike acquired a number of these fake license keys to bypass the system and use Quest’s software “far in excess of the scope allowed” by the 2001 agreement.
This infringement and breach of contract was highlighted in an audit in January 2017.
The claim states that once these infringing activities were brought to Nike’s attention, they refused to pay the correct fees for the software they had been used outside of their licensing agreement.
The claim states that loss is continuingly being suffered due to Nike’s actions, and Quest would like injunctive relief, damages and costs.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, with Nike being on the wrong side of the IP argument.