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Basketball Court: Nike Sues Skechers

Brett Hershman

Skechers USA Inc (NYSE: SKX) is no stranger to legal battles with its footwear competitors.

Its latest dispute is with Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE), after the world’s largest sportswear company alleged Skechers ripped off two of its most popular shoe models, the VaporMax and AirMax 270.

In a patent infringement complaint, Nike said Skechers CEO Robert Greenberg's strategy is to take “inspiration from competitor products” and then 'Skecherize' them to gain market share."

The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court, according to Footwear News.

Skechers was the No. 2 athletic footwear brand in the U.S. in 2015, overtaking Adidas AG (ADR) (OTC: ADDYY), a company that has also been engaged in litigation with Skechers.

“Nike filed this lawsuit to continue to defend its design innovation and stop Skechers from free-riding on Nike’s significant investment of talent and resources that are deployed to innovate,” according to Nike.

It's not the first time Nike has taken action against Skechers for the perceived rip-off of its designs, sports attorney Darren Heitner told Benzinga.

"The most concerning thing, if infringement is found, is that Skechers' CEO is alleged to have purposefully adopted and promoted such a strategy. It could lead to enhanced damages.”

Skechers shares were down 1.91% at $36.64 at the time of publication, while Nike shares were down 1.81% at $92.22.

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Photo courtesy of Skechers.

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