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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Barefoot Wars

Seen shopping barefoot recently in Midtown Manhattan was Beyonce obviously making a fashion statement. However had she been wearing Nike Free trainers she may be interested to learn Nike Inc., were sued by Reebok International Ltd over the same shoes. Reebok claimed Nike have infringed a patent in the ’Free” line shoes which covers a flexible insole system which allows the shoes to bend and is claimed to mimic barefoot running. The suit alleges that despite Reebok’s patent protection, Nike “willfully and intentionally” developed shoes that use Reebok’s technology. The world's biggest athletic shoe maker has promoted its Nike Free line as way for athletes to get benefits like those of running barefoot. Reebok are owned by Adidas-Salomon AG, and have about 20 percent of the U.S. sneaker and sports-equipment market (estimated at $110 billion). Nike meantime sued Adidas, the world's second-largest sporting-goods maker, accusing it of infringing a patented method for cushioning soles (Schox cushioning technology and using the method in its running, basketball and tennis shoes. Brooks Sports Inc., filed a Notice of Dismissal voluntarily dismissing the infringement and unfair competition claims it filed in the Western District last month against Payless Shoesource Inc., Exeter Brands Group, LLC, and Nike, Inc. Brooks had alleged that defendants’ Tailwind shoe logo was confusingly similar with Brooks’ shoe logo. The terms of the settlement remain confidential but Nike will use a revised logo for its Tailwind products.

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