FRANKFURT Adidas (ADSGn.DE) may be able to sell its Adizero Primeknit running shoe in Germany from next month after a court ruled a temporary injunction brought by rival Nike (NKE.N) cannot be sustained.
Nike filed for the injunction last month, halting the sale and production of the Adidas product, arguing the shoe was a copy of its Flyknit sneaker, launched in February.
The court in Nuremberg, Germany, on Wednesday said that after hearing the Adidas case, it intended to set the injunction aside on Nov, 7.
The uppers of the green Flyknit shoe and the red and white Primeknit shoe are both made from one piece of fused yarn, with both shoes looking as though they have been knitted.
Adidas launched its shoe at the London Olympics in July with a limited run of 2,012 pairs costing 220 pounds ($350) apiece. It has said it wants to use the technology for other categories of sneaker.
Adidas said on Wednesday it had filed for cancellation of the Nike patent, arguing the technology involved in making the shoe's upper from fused yarn has been around since the 1940s.
"Adidas vigorously denies the alleged patent infringement," it said in a statement.
Nike, which had been seeking to make the injunction permanent, said the latest statement from the court was just one step in a longer process.
"We will continue to aggressively protect our intellectual property rights, including through the conclusion of this interim injunction proceeding as well as in a formal infringement case," a spokeswoman said.
($1 = 0.6274 British pounds)
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; additional reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Chicago; Editing by Mark Potter)