updated 03:50 pm EDT, Tue October 2, 2007
Leaper v. Nike+iPod
A Highland, Utah-based shoemaking company, Leaper Footwear, has filed suit against Apple and Nike over the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, documents from Utah's District Court indicate. Leaper's founders, Greg and Kenny Anderson, say that the Sport Kit violates a 1998 patent, which involves the use of custom footwear to track performance, such as running/walking speed and distances traveled. Lawyers for Leaper are said to have approached Nike in 2000, suggesting to the company that it could license Leaper's concept. Though the offer was rejected, the Andersons charge that Apple and Nike exploited their idea anyway, announcing Nike+iPod in May of 2006.
If Leaper wins ts case outright, it will receive an injunction against the Sport Kit, plus legal fees and damages, the last as much as three times the standard amount due to Nike's "willful and deliberate" actions. More likely is a reduced judgment, or an out-of-court settlement. Leaper is requesting a full jury trial.
The Kit involves two main components: a special sensor that fits under the insoles of Nike+ shoes, and a wireless receiver, which plugs into any iPod nano. A Nano then tracks workout statistics, providing vocal feedback and the ability to upload statistics to the Nike+ website once the player is synched with a computer.
The lawsuit was first reported by Apple news site AppleInsider.