Adidas Files Three IPR Petitions Challenging Nike Patents

On April 19, 2016, Adidas filed three petitions for inter partes review of Nike patents by the USPTO. The three related patents relate to footwear and methods of manufacturing footwear, particular textile structures.

Nike Patent Claim 1 of the Patents
US Patent No. 8,266,749 1. A method of manufacturing an article of footwear, the method comprising:simultaneously knitting a textile element with a surrounding textile structure, the knitted textile element having at least one knitted texture that differs from a knitted texture in the surrounding knitted textile structure;

removing the knitted textile element from the surrounding knitted textile structure;

incorporating the knitted textile element into the article of footwear.

US Patent No. 8,042,288 1. An article of footwear comprising:an upper incorporating a circular-knitted textile element having a plurality of knit constructions, the circular-knitted textile element being removed from a circular-knitted textile structure, and further having longitudinal edges that are joined together to define at least a portion of a void for receiving a foot; and

a sole structure secured to the upper.

US Patent No. 7,814,598 1. A method of manufacturing an article of footwear, the method comprising steps of:mechanically-manipulating a yarn with a circular knitting machine to form a cylindrical textile structure;

removing at least one textile element from the textile structure;

incorporating the textile element into an upper of the article of footwear.

The three patents at issue are related to another patent, US Patent No. 7,347,011, which was previously challenged by Adidas in a different IPR proceeding. The IPR decision in that proceeding resulted in a Federal Circuit decision that discusses how amended claims are to be treated in IPR proceedings, including who has the burden of demonstrating patentability of substitute claims (the Patentee) and what prior art the patentee must distinguish in order to be entitled to introduce substitute claims (all prior art of record and known to Patentee, but only if material to patentability).