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Nike Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against adidas Over Flyknit, Primeknit Similarity

A few weeks ago I got an email from adidas PR announcing the adidas Primeknit running shoe. Included in the email was a link to the following video:

The Primeknit is clearly intended to capitalize on the buzz created by Nike’s release of the Nike Flyknit – both shoes are unique in that they sport a knit, one-piece upper:

adidas PrimeknitNike Flyknit

Not surprisingly, the similarity between the shoe designs has led to a standoff between the companies. Nike claims that the Primeknit is a copy of the Flyknit and thus infringes on their patent, and sought an interim injunction to prevent adidas from making or selling the Primeknit in Germany. This temporary injunction was granted, and Nike is now seeking a permanent injunction.

As reported on The Oregonian, a Nike spokesman stated: “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.”

adidas claims the Primeknit has been in development for three years. It’ll be interesting to watch how this battle between shoe giants plays out!

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.


  1. I predict this will play out like the Apple/Samsung battle. A huge waste of money on lawsuits. Clearly Nike invented knitting, just like Apple invented the rectangle.

  2. Richard Ayotte says:

    Only the lawyers win in cases like this. Patent system needs a serious reform.

  3. If Adidas makes a Whateverknit with the sole and fit of the Hagio, then I’m buying. If they do as Nike did and only use that tech for their higher-drop racers (Adios), then move on, please. Local Nike-sponsored athletes weren’t too happy with the Flyknit, either – most don’t chose to race it in the end.
    Also, why compete with this knit upper when they have the Gazelle’s amazing lycra-ish material? If they chose to actually market it as seriously as Nike hypes their Flyknit (and Flywire before), they could also get more buzz going.

  4. Christian Carlo says:

    Pete, do you think that you’ll be doing a review of the Nike Flyknit Racer?

  5. “Clearly intended”? Adidas couldn’t have just come up with a knitted shoe in four months after Nike launched in February to be slightly ahead in the ‘ermehgerd knitted shoe’ stakes.

  6. Adidas was interviewed by someone and the said they’ve had this in the works for 4 years, and it would be impossible to come up with that technology in the span of when nike released their first knitted shoes.
    link to
    Personally I don’t care for nikes running (I also think they are too narrow, but also I just don’t like nike for multiple reasons) i have ran in some great adidas shoes though.

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