Nike is suing the three designers for “stealing its commercial secrets” and taking them over to adidas. The Swoosh is claiming that the designers started consulting for adidas while still being under contract with Nike, which is a violation of their non-compete agreements.
According to Reuters:
Nike said the designers hatched their plan last April, and pitched Adidas on a design studio that would help craft products while also bringing Adidas information about Nike’s plans for the next few years in its running, sportswear and soccer lines….The plans for the studio were essentially for a knockoff of Nike’s own design lab, called the Kitchen, according to the complaint…Adidas bought the studio idea and offered the designers lucrative employment contracts, Nike said. The project, called the Brooklyn Creative Design Studio, is set to open early next year.
A representative from adidas claims that they attract top talent and have “no interest in old work or past assignments.” If you thought this was already bad, here are some more details from the lawsuit.
Before leaving Nike, the complaint alleged, the designers copied sensitive design and business documents from their computers, including drawings for an unreleased shoe made for one of Nike’s sponsored athletes. The suit accused the designers of trying to hide their tracks by erasing incriminating emails and text messages from their work-issued cellphones and laptops. Nike also claimed that Adidas knew of the non-compete agreements and promised to pay for any legal fallout. The agreements barred the designers from any connection with Adidas during their employment and for one year after.
The Swoosh is claiming at least $10 million in damages (and it could be more if this is all true).
The case is Nike, Inc v Denis Dekovic, Marc Dolce, and Mark Miner, in the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon for the County of Multnomah, No. 14-cv-18876.
Do you think the three former Nike designers are guilty of these allegation or could Nike possibly just be salty over losing three huge names? Be sure to keep it locked to Kicks on Fire for updates on this story.