The fierce competition between athletic shoe companies now extends beyond the playing fields to the courtroom.

Nike has sued two rival shoe companies, New Balance and Skechers, in Federal Court, for patent infringement over Nike’s Flyknit technology. In its papers, Nike says they filed nine patents for Flyknit technology between September 2012 and July 2023.

According to Nike, Flyknit technology is designed so the upper portion of the shoe will be lightweight, breathable, and stretchable, but strong enough to still offer support. Furthermore, Nike said its patented technology helps them to manufacture their shoes with fewer materials and less waste, and they are asking the court for two actions: first, to order New Balance and Skechers to stop selling particular lines of their shoes and second, they are asking for an unspecified amount of damages from their rivals. 

At the center of the dispute are running, basketball, and soccer shoes, specifically New Balance’s Fresh Foam and Fuel Cell lines of shoes and Skechers Ultra Flex and Glide Step brands. Unsurprisingly, both companies believe they haven’t violated Nike’s patent rights.

In a statement, New Balance said it “fully respects other competitors’ intellectual property rights but disagreed that Nike owns the exclusive right to technology that, New Balance claims, has “been used in the industry for decades.”

This is not the first time that Nike has sued competitors over its Flyknit technology.  They have sued Adidas, Puma, and Lululemon for patent infringement. Puma and Adidas settled their cases in 2020 and 2022 respectively, but the case against Lululemon, which was filed earlier this year, is still pending.