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Apple, Nike sued over Nike+iPod

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.

by MacNN Staff




  1. nhmlco

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Doesn't apply...

    Doesn't sound like it applies then, as the sensor could be stuck inside of any shoe and removed, whereas the patent was for "custom footwear", which implies a shoe designed for that specific purpose.

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    custom nikes

    actually, IIRC when the kit came out the shoe was custom, at least compared to other sneakers from had a little pocket built for the sensor.

  1. Deal

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This definitely doesn't apply to Apple, as it doesn't affect what Apple makes or the part that Apple sells (the iPod).

    It would affect Nike (who must make the sensor and the software to go along with it), but it appears they aren't worried about this at all. Either they have too much money or they are pretty sure they can get out of it.

  1. wonderllama

    Joined: Dec 1969



    looks like someone forgot to close their tag...

  1. dwoodruff

    Joined: Dec 1969



    did their patent include transmitting the info to an iPod? Therefore predicting the iPod years before its inception?

    I wish I could get a patent on baseless lawsuits. then I could sue all these douchebags

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't know...

    looks like this one might have some legs. ;)

  1. bob_hearn

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Most people don't realize

    that there have been similar (and much more accurate) products on the market for years, including several by Nike. E.g., I started using the Nike Triax Elite in 2004. This product is a running watch which talks wirelessly to a foot pod with accelerometers in it. You lace the pod to the top of your shoe; it weighs a couple of ounces.

    What's new about the Nike+iPod is the iPod integration and the smaller sensor size. (Of course, accuracy is sacrificed with the smaller sensor size... the Nike+iPod is better than nothing for reporting pace/distance, but not much.)

    Seems like these guys really ought to be suing Dynastream, the company that makes the inertial footpod sensors everybody uses. (At least, they used to; I don't know about the Nike+ sensor.)

    Saying that "Apple and Nike exploited their idea anyway, announcing Nike+iPod in May of 2006" is just ridiculous... unless, as dwoodruff mentions, the patent specifically mentioned then-nonexistent iPods. :-)

  1. Buran

    Joined: Dec 1969


    closing tag


    Did this work?

  1. spongebill

    Joined: Dec 1969


    oh great!

    oh great just what we need, another frivolous lawsuit! seriously, get a life Leaper. You're not the only one out there with good ideas.

  1. 010111

    Joined: Dec 1969



    did that work?

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