SBJ/June 9 - 15, 2003/This Weeks Issue

Reebok sued over shock-pad technology

The inventor of a shock-absorbing cushion pad for shoes is suing Reebok, claiming the sneaker giant's DMX technology infringes on his patent.

Mark Adams, holder of a 1991 patent, filed his lawsuit late last month in a San Francisco district court. He is seeking an injunction against Reebok and its subsidiary, the Rockport Co.

"Reebok feels very confident that Mr. Adams' patent is invalid, which makes any issue of infringement a moot point," said Denise Kaigler, Reebok vice president of global communications. She wouldn't comment further.

Adams' attorney, Edward King, said: "Patents are issued after the Patent and Trademark Office has done an investigation into whether a patent would be valid or not. The first defense of an infringer is always the claim that the patent is invalid. What would you expect? For Reebok just to write us a check?" King wouldn't comment further.

Reebok launched its DMX shock-cushioning technology in 1997, and many of its footwear products contain the technology.

Adams' lawsuit asks that Reebok be ordered to account for damages Adams may be entitled to and claims that "in view of [Reebok's] acts of willful infringement," those damages should be tripled.

— Liz Mullen

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