Fashion: Nike wages patent war with Chinese company
A Made-in-China footwear is in trouble for copying Nike’s style and selling it on Alibaba.com. The company has allegedly made huge profits.
Nike filed its lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Nevada last month. It stated that Fujian Bestwinn “has made, used, sold, offered to sell, and/or imported into the United States shoes bearing designs that have the same or substantially similar overall visual impression as the designs covered by [at least 20 of] Nike’s design patents.”
Nike stated that despite its numerous attempts to notify Bestwinn of its infringing activities, Bestwinn continued to manufacture and sell the shoes at issue, including an array of its popular Flyknit styles. Apart from sending cease and desist letters to the company in 2013, Nike also sent representatives to the WSA@Magic trade show in Las Vegas to notify Bestwinn officials in person of the company’s infringing styles. This went on for three years to no avail.
According to Nike’s complaint, “At the [WSA@Magic trade show] held from August 18th to 21st, 2013, Nike representatives visited the Bestwinn company booth and notified Bestwinn that Bestwinn’s promotion and offer to sell certain products infringed Nike’s patents.” A year later, “at the WSA trade show held from August 17-20, 2014, Nike representatives again visited the Bestwinn company booth and observed Bestwinn offering to sell additional infringing shoes.”
According to Bestwinn’s website, which is hosted by Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, the company reports annual revenues of between $50 and $100 million.
In addition to an array of monetary damages (which Nike asserts “shall be trebled as a result of Bestwinn’s willful patent infringement”) and a jury trial, Nike asked the court to immediately and permanently prevent Bestwinn from manufacturing and selling the infringing footwear. On the heels of filing last month, the court awarded Nike an early victory, granting its request for a preliminary injunction and issued a seizure order, thereby allowing Nike to seize the allegedly infringing footwear from Bestwinn. Nike’s counsel in Las Vegas oversaw the seizure of footwear from Bestwinn, in connection with the FN Platform trade show (a tradeshow associated with WSA@Magic], which was held in Las Vegas last month.
As of the time of publication, Bestwinn continues to sell the allegedly infringing footwear on its website, which is certainly outside of the court’s jurisdiction, as it is headquartered in China.