Sport war: Nike sue Puma for infringement of 4 patents. Meanwhile, Germans are thinking about leaving China

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Last week, on May 3, Nike submitted (before the Massachusetts District Court) a legal complaint, against Puma North America Inc., for infringement of patents. According to the US multinational corporation, Puma have been allegedly using 4 Nike’s patents, with no permission, including Air and Flyknit assembly technologies for footwear. For the records, apparently the German company kept using them even after Nike’s summons. Some analysts consider this report to be a competitor strategy “aiming to emphasize the player’s production trend that is bound to be complicated in 2018, manufacturingwise”. In fact, as reported by Reuters, Puma would be supposedly considering the possibility to move their production, currently outsourced in China, to “other Asian countries if Trump actually applied to China customs duties”. As remarked by general manager Bjorn Gulden, while talking to journalists, Puma are currently manufacturing around one third of their items in China. Over the last months, the company has been thinking about relocating their footwear production in Vietnam and Indonesia, and their apparel manufacturing in Cambodia and Bangladesh. However, Puma started working on that a few months ago, owing to rising labor costs in China: in fact, they have already relocated some productions in a few countries close to China, also taking advantage of the fact that many non-Chinese factories are property of the same owners of the Chinese ones.

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