Lululemon's shoes debuted last spring
Nike is suing Lululemon in a Manhattan federal court for unspecified damages, accusing the Canadian company of patent infringements in four of Lulu’s athletic shoe models.
It’s not the first time Nike has accused Lululemon: Last year, it said Lululemon’s Mirror, a connected-fitness device, infringed on six patents.
Nike claims it has suffered “economic harm and irreparable injury,” reports Reuters. It specifically names Lululemon’s Chargefeel Mid, Chargefeel Low, Blissfeel and Strongfeel shoes.
“Nike’s claims are unjustified,” a Lululemon spokesperson tells Marketing Daily. “We look forward to proving our case in court.”
Lululemon’s initial step into footwear made headlines last spring. It started with the launch of the Blissfeel, a running shoe it claims is the first-ever designed for women’s anatomy. Several months later, it introduced Chargefeel, a cross-training shoe built specifically for female feet. And Strongfeel, a training shoe, debuted in the fall.
It has since launched shoes for men, too.
The patents reportedly focus on textile elements, such as knitted components, webbing and tubular structures.
Lululemon has said its shoes have met a good response from consumers, “far exceeding” expectations.
“Footwear is a test-and-learn category for us, and it represents a small portion of the growth we anticipate over the next five years,” said Calvin McDonald, Lululemon’s chief executive officer, in an earnings webcast last month. “This allows us to build into the potential at an appropriate pace as we learn and make adjustments.”
Nike has good reason to look over its shoulder and get defensive. Lululemon is already on pace to pass Nike as the largest women’s athletic apparel brand, according to the NPD Group.
While the footwear launch is helping close some distance between it and the industry Goliath, Lululemon has a ways to go to top Nike’s sales. Lululemon expects to have $8 billion in revenues this fiscal year, and Nike sales topped $46.7 billion in its most recent fiscal year.