| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Dec 9 Nike Inc is accusing
three of its former senior shoe designers of stealing its
commercial secrets and making off for German rival Adidas AG
, which announced in September the trio would staff
its new urban footwear design studio in Brooklyn.
A lawsuit filed in Oregon where Nike is headquartered claims
at least $10 million in damages. The world's largest sportswear
maker said the former designers, Marc Dolce, Mark Miner, and
senior design director Denis Dekovic, started consulting for
Adidas while still working at the company, violating their
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
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
An Adidas representative said the company attracts top
talent and has "no interest in old work or past assignments."
Nike's spokesman declined to comment further on the case,
but said the company will "vigorously" protect its intellectual
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 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.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and