Welcome back to another WOMMW. I read a news article today about the conclusion of a court case in Munich, Germany on a patent dispute between Nike and Adidas. Adidas had filed a countersuit requesting for Nike’s patents for their Flyknit technology to be deleted after Nike failed to ban Adidas’ Primeknit products for infringing those patents in 2012.
The court ruled Nike’s patent invalid, which now provides the opportunity for other firms like Adidas to use this efficient way of producing shoes in Germany without the fear of being sued by Nike. The firm from Herzogenaurach is now also pushing to get these patents ruled invalid in France and the UK.
I feel like this could be a big step for the shoe industry. While I am a huge fan of the Flyknit technology, I feel that prohibiting other companies from using similar technologies that completely change the way shoes are made is unfair. Especially since knitting the upper of shoes was not a completely new thing in 2012. Others have done it before and a long time before Nike started doing it. Therefore I applaud the court’s decision to delete this patent.
Nike did invest a lot of resources into cooking up the perfect recipe to complement this technology in their Innovation Kitchen so you have to give credit where it’s due. The Flyknit range of running shoes came out fantastic. Furthermore, I feel that Nike’s puts a lot more effort into advertising and endorsement, which proves to be very effective.
Looking back at the World Cup 2014 in Brazil, Adidas claimed to have had the first knitted football shoe with their Samba Primeknit. But I don’t recall anyone wearing them at the World Cup. I don’t even think the shoe went on sale until long after the World Cup was over.
Nike’s Magista on the other hand was at the centre of a huge marketing campaign with the Genealogy of Innovation Tour, the Genealogy of Innovation book with Sneaker Freaker that gathered a lot of attention, the short films, the ads and many of the Nike endorsed athletes actually wearing the unmistakable ankle-high shoe in the brightest of colours at the World Cup.
Primeknit was never really on my radar, probably because Adidas rarely did anything to put it on the map. The first time I heard about it was when Nike announced they were suing Adidas for copyright infringement back in 2012.
The only thing that made Primeknit desirable to me was the Stan Smith Primeknit that released in June. I really wanted them as they looked to be a great shoe for the summer but they were fairly limited and I couldn’t get my hands on a pair. I guess that shows there are people out there interested in what Adidas and their Primknit technology has to offer.
I am definitely going to keep my eyes open for what Adidas will deliver now that the court has ruled this patent dispute in their favour. I am even more curious to see what other companies will do with this freedom to use knitted uppers when making their shoes. 2015 could be a very exciting year.
Do you prefer Flyknit or Primeknit? Who do you think did it first? Who do you think is in the right here?
Let me know in the comments below.