Nike is being sued by Adidas for its applications and Adapt footwear
Although Adidas and Nike have been on and off the court in the past, Adidas has taken it to a new level. On Friday, the business launched its first federal complaint against Nike, claiming that the competitor infringed on nine of its patents related to smartphone apps and customizable shoe technology.
According to preliminary reports, the case concerns several of Nike’s digital goods. Adidas claims that the Nike Run Club, Training Club, and SNKRS apps violate its patents in areas such as audio feedback during workouts, GPS tracking, training plans, integration with third-party accessories such as heart rate monitors, and the ability to reserve and purchase limited-edition sneakers. These are standard features on many running and fitness tracking applications, and Adidas isn’t the first company to sue over them. Adidas sued Under Armour in 2014 over its Map My Fitness app. The two firms eventually reached an agreement in which Under Armour agreed to pay Adidas a licencing fee.
In addition, the company expressly mentioned its Confirmed app. Adidas launched the app in 2015, touting it as a tool to provide clients with exclusive shoe releases and intimate access to its brands. Nike’s SNKRS app, which performs the same thing for Nike’s sneakers, was released shortly after.
Adidas also claimed that Nike’s adjustable Adapt sneakers violated the Adidas 1. The Adidas 1 was a running shoe with a motor inside the sole and a heel sensor that allowed the shoe’s “stiffness” to be adjusted in real-time. Meanwhile, Nike’s Adapt technology received a lot of attention since it reminded people of the self-lacing sneakers shown in the iconic sci-fi film Back to the Future. However, the two shoes serve very distinct functions. The Adidas 1 was designed to be an all-in-one shoe for runners, whereas Nike’s Adapt sneakers were more about accessibility and comfort.
Finally, Adidas is suing Nike for monetary damages as well as a court order prohibiting Nike from “directly or indirectly infringing one or more” of the patents at issue. If Adidas wins, it might have far-reaching implications for fitness tracking apps. As previously stated, capabilities such as the GPS route tracking referenced in Adidas’ suit are nearly universal in programmes such as Strava and Runkeeper, as well as companion apps for various fitness monitors such as Garmin and Polar.
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