Nike Sues Former Designers Who Left to Work for Adidas

Originally posted 2018-05-11 7:52:39

By Bryan Salvadore |

NikeThe ongoing battle for supremacy between Nike and Adidas has recently reached a new level. Last week, Nike initiated a suit against three former designers who decided to leave Nike for their competitor Adidas. The suit ask for upwards of $10 million in damages.

The lawsuit alleges that a few of the companies top designers, Denis Dekovic, Marc Dolce, and Mark Mine used trade secrets from Nike’s Innovation Kitchen to sell themselves to Adidas. The Innovation Kitchen is the hub where Nike’s biggest designers design the companies shoes and apparel years in advance Additionally, it is where Nike test innovative materials and new concepts.

Nike’s lawsuit alleges that the three designers, were consulting with Adidas before they left Nike. The company purports that Dekovic, the former senior design director for Nike Football, stole “proprietary documents” related to Nike’s global football (soccer) products line by duplicating the contents of his work laptop. These documents included specific designs of team uniforms and products for the 2016 European Championship, plans for Nike-sponsored athletes, unreleased financial data about the company, and information about Nike’s future launches in the marketplace.

The lawsuit states, “Disclosure of any of this information would irreparably harm Nike, by, among other things, enabling a competitor to effectively undermine and counter Nike’s performance in the athletic markets for the next three to four years.”

The three designers allegedly erased all the email from their computers and text messages on their phones in an attempt to destroy any incriminating evidence.

All three of the designers deny Nike’s claim in a statement their attorney provided to Portland Business Journal. Their statement reads, “We did not take trade secrets or intellectual property when we departed Nike in September. The athletic footwear industry is fast moving and rapidly changing and, as creative people, we thrive on innovation and freshness.”

Adidas officials has not made an formal statement to address this legal dispute between its three new designers and Nike. However, the company did issue a statement saying “Many of our employees have storied careers and rich experiences, but we have no interest in old work or past assignments as we are focused on shaping the future of the sporting goods industry, not looking at what has been done in the past.”