Nike, Apple Targeted in Patent Suits

Apple and Nike are the targets in a set of new lawsuits, each valued at upwards of $2 billion. According to filings from the separate suits, which were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Daisy Washington-Gross alleges that the two retail giants infringed her “detachable beeper disc digital gym shoe computer wrist watch” design for which patent protection is allegedly pending. In Gross’ complaint, she states: "I would like a jury trial to prove the Patent Infringement of their 'Apple Computer Wrist Watch' and be awarded (2) Two Billion Dollars because of their infringement and because I was the first to put in for a patent for a 'computer wrist watch.'" According to The Fashion Law, this is not Washington-Gross’s first patent infringement lawsuit. “In fact, she filed a similar lawsuit against sportswear giant Reebok in a 2000 lawsuit, in which she alleged to hold patents for a ‘Beeper Disc Digital Detachable Gym Shoe,’ ‘Disc Digital with Time/Step Sensor Scanner Devices,’ and ‘Micro-Chips.’ That case was dismissed in 2001 in Reebok’s favor. However, it is worth noting that Washington-Gross has attempted to revive the case this year,” the site writes. It’s interesting to see an individual entity jump on a large patent infringement lawsuit. Obviously, Washington-Gross is not afraid to take on big companies, but it is curious that she has chosen to take on two at one time. Big corporations like Apple and Nike have a bounty of resources, so Washington-Gross has to feel that she has a strong case, and one wonders if the recent losses by Apple in the smartphone space have weakened the once-unbreakable image of the Cupertino based giant. Time will tell how much merit these cases have, but it just goes to show how patent litigation can be a costly distraction, even for two of the world’s biggest brands.