Wednesday December 10th, 2014

Nike has sued three former designers for more than $10 million in damages for allegedly taking trade secrets to rival company Adidas, ESPN's Darren Rovell reports.

Denis Dekovic, Marc Dolce and Mark Miner left Nike in September 2014 and agreed to start a creative studio in Brooklyn with Adidas. Nike claims the trio used its knowledge of Nike's Innovation Kitchen to plan a similar venture with Adidas and also violated a non-compete clause that lasted until September 2015. Nike also alleges that Dekovic copied the contents of his laptop before leaving the company.

In the lawsuit, Nike says the information will hurt the company as it competes with Adidas in the soccer market.

"All of this information is among the most important and highly confidential information in Nike's athletic footwear business, particularly its global football business," the lawsuit reads. "Disclosure of any of this information would irreparably harm Nike, by, among other things, enabling a competitor to effectively undermine and counter Nike's performance in the athletic markets for the next three to four years."

Dekovic, Dolce and Miner released a statement through their attorneys to the Portland Business Journal denying the allegations.

"During our entire careers, we have given nothing but our maximum effort," the three designers said in a statement issued by their attorneys ... During our time at Nike, we collectively poured in hours, passion and dedication beyond what was asked or expected of us, often prioritizing our jobs over our families. Until the very end, we stayed engaged, loyal and committed. We have a tremendous amount of respect for our colleagues and Nike and would never do anything to harm them."

Rovell reports that Dekovic worked on Nike's football products, Dolce on signature shoes for Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, and Miner worked on Nike's running line.

To view the lawsuit in its entirety, click here.

- Paul Palladino

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