Athletic apparel company Nike has recently filed a lawsuit against a Chinese footwear manufacturer, alleging that that company has infringed upon several of its patents. In Nike’s lawsuit, which has been filed in the US District Court in the State of Nevada, last month, Nike claims that the company 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.” Furthermore, the lawsuit lists potential infringements on creations from CEO Mark Parker and former Nike employee Marc Miner (who is now with Adidas).
In Nike’s complaint, the Portland, OR-based company insists that they have made several efforts to notify Bestwinn of their infringements(s), but the company continues to make and sell the items in question. Not only has Nike sent Bestwinn several cease and desist letters—beginning in 2013—but they have also sent representatives to the WSA@Magic trade show, in Las Vegas, to notify Bestwinn in person.
Still, three years later, they have not reached an understanding.
Specificlly, Nike’s complaint details: “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.” Then, 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.” And finally, they also warned, “at the WSA show on February 16-18, 2016, Bestwinn offered for sale numerous footwear products bearing designs that are substantially the same as, if not identical copies of, the designs covered by Nike’s design patents,” such as the footwear pictured below.
Now, Bestwinn is hosted by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, an internet marketplace infamous for peddling counterfeit or infringed goods. Through Alibaba, then, Bestwinn reports annual revenue upwards of $100 million, with nearly all of their goods exported to other countries (including, largely, the United States). Apparently, too, one of Bestwinn’s largest clients is the American multinational discount retailer known intimately by all as Wal-Mart.