Footwear brand Skechers has been taking some considerable heat recently from Nike. With the Oregon-based sportswear brand filing a lawsuit against Skechers. Suing them for allegedly copying Nike’s patented Air Max 270 and Air Vapormax designs. Nike claims that Skechers are creating what they call “Skecherized versions” of its popular shoes. Specifically citing shoes like the Sketchers’ Skech-Air Atlas, Skech-Air 92, Skech-Air Stratus and Skech-Air Blast models as infringers. Evidence I am finding very hard to ignore. As Nike file Skechers lawsuit, it is important to remember the brand has been using its proprietary Air sole units since 1987, and the company recently received patents for both the Air Max 270 and VaporMax designs.
Nike in a statement explains that the lawsuit is mainly intended to help protect its design innovation. While also being to stop Skechers from “free-riding” on Nike’s investment and resources. With officials at Nike believing that Skechers’ strategy to copy competitors’ designs comes directly from Skechers CEO Robert Greenberg. This if you weren’t already aware isn’t the first time Nike and Skechers have clashed. With Nike filing a similar lawsuit against them in 2016. Accusing them once again of copying their designs, only that time it concerned the Free and Flyknit footwear. That lawsuit is still unresolved pending in court, however.
Accused CEO Robert Greenberg had this to say in response:
“Skechers merely takes inspiration from competitor products, which it calls ‘Skecherizing’.”
Inspiration or plagiarism?
It is to be noted that both the Air Vapormax and Air Max 270 have an incredibly distinctive midsole and outsole design. Thus making it pretty easy to identify. With elements of both clearly being exhibited almost identically in Skechers products. The Skechers variation of the Air Vapormax in particularly is comically similar.
Plagiarism in the footwear space isn’t uncommon, however. Nike themselves have recently come under flack for their new Nike Joyride running shoe similarities to the Puma Jamming. While elsewhere Adidas has been filing a lawsuit to protect their three stripes logo from use by J. Crew.
Will you be heading to online trainers retailers to cop a new pair of the controversial Skechers? Or will you be standing with Nike on this one?