A look from Nike Swim.

A Pennsylvania-based sports apparel company recently hit Nike with a lawsuit.

The case, filed in a Pennsylvania district court on Dec. 31, alleges Nike has been copying Lontex Corp.’s Cool Compression sports apparel line since October 2015.

The independent company is suing Nike for trademark infringement and unfair competition, and asking for $2 million per item infringed, in addition to other legal fees.  

Since launching the Cool Compression apparel and accessories lines, which include compression shirts, shorts, tights and socks, back in June 2007, Lontex said it’s sold about 40,000 items. That equals millions of dollars in sales by way of the web site and doctor referrals. But the company has been making its Sweat It Out products for athletes since 1989 long before sports apparel and ath-leisure clothing was considered cool. 

“Lontex’s Cool Compression line of products are very popular with customers throughout the nation,” the court documents state. “This includes the best athletes and professional sports teams from across the country, including at least 25 teams from the NFL, 15 teams from the MLB, as well as various NHL, AHL and NBA professional sports teams.”

Lontex’s Cool Compression logo, as seen in court documents.  Courtesy Court Documents

In 2015, after discovering that Nike was selling its own line of Cool Compression apparel and accessories, representatives from Lontex contacted Nike and asked the Oregon-based apparel and footwear company to stop making and selling its Cool Compression line. According to court documents, Nike agreed. But the Nike Cool Compression products are still available on Nike’s web site.

Nike’s compression tops are priced roughly from $28 to $35 a piece, depending on the style. A discount from Lontex’s Cool Compression tops, which start around $90 each.

But Lontex said it’s worth it. The Lontex Cool Compression brand are backed by medical professionals, even developing “a strong reputation in the medical and sports fields.”  

“Lontex has received reports by its professional sports team clients that the Nike’s compression products arc substantially inferior in performance than Lontex’s products,” court documents state.

Nike would not respond to a request for comment.

A glimpse of some of Nike’s compression products, as seen on Nike.com.  Courtesy Nike

Lontex said it owns the “Cool Compression” trademark rights and argues that the logo is distinctive and generates secondary meaning for consumers. That is, when shoppers look at a Lontex product, he or she will know its Lontex without even seeing the name.

The company called Nike’s actions “reckless and careless,” as well as “malicious, fraudulent, deliberate and willful, and taken in bad faith,” and said Nike did not bother to contact Lontex “whatsoever for authorization before using the Cool Compression mark.”

Lontex also did not respond to a request for comment.

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