updated 2/17/2006 7:37:28 AM ET 2006-02-17T12:37:28

Nike Inc. filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Adidas-Salomon AG on Thursday, claiming its archrival makes shoes using elements of Nike's SHOX cushioning technology.

Beaverton-based Nike alleges the new Kevin Garnett signature shoe by Adidas and its A3 shoes are among the footwear that violate the Nike patent.

"Despite Nike's patent protection, Adidas has built shoes that use Nike's technology," Nike spokesman Vada Manager said.

Adidas officials at the German company's U.S. headquarters in Portland were not immediately available for comment.

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Lufkin, Texas, because the court has "expertise in complex intellectual property cases" and can resolve it more quickly, Manager said.

Nike, now the world's largest athletic shoe and clothing manufacturer, began developing the cushioning technology almost 20 years ago when it trailed Reebok International Ltd. as the No. 2 shoe maker.

Adidas, now the No. 2 manufacturer, last month completed its $3.8 billion purchase of Reebok, moving it closer in sales to Nike.

The SHOX technology was introduced in 2000 after the original Nike Air shoe debuted in 1979. The latest shoe to use the SHOX design is Nike's eighth Air Max running shoe, released last month at a suggested retail price of $160.

The latest version finally eliminates foam from the midsole of a shoe that relies on air cushioning in a design first suggested to Nike by aerospace engineer Frank Rudy. The goal was to create a shoe with lighter, more durable cushioning than foam.

During the World Shoe Association Show in Las Vegas last week, Nike served lawsuits on two other companies it claims is infringing on Nike patents — Air Max Import and Export Inc. and Romeo and Juliette.

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