NEW YORK — Marshall Gobuty International USA Inc., the maker of Handcuffs Sweatshirts, has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Nike Inc. alleging patent infringement.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for Southern New York on Aug. 27, alleges that Nike has manufactured, marketed and sold products under the Nike name that incorporate patented construction and functionality without license or permission from MGI.

MGI seeks an injunction on the manufacture and sale of the items, and damages of no less than $8 million, plus an undetermined amount in additional compensation for damages and fees for alleged violation of three U.S. patents held by MGI.

MGI, based here, has sold shirts and sweatshirts with extended sleeves with thumbholes under the Handcuffs name since 1997, and alleges that Nike’s Dri-Fit Slacker Mock and Dri-Fit Handwarmer Top shirts violate the company’s patents on sleeve cuffs that incorporate an opening for the thumb. The suit alleges that the Portland, Ore.-based activewear giant has manufactured and sold similar products in stores such as Paragon Sports, Foot Locker, Eastbay and Nordstrom.

MGI, which is represented by Steinberg & Raskin, P.C. of New York, has sold more than $20 million worth of merchandise in this product line, the company said. The patented line has been featured in national advertising campaigns from J.C. Penney Co. and Kohl’s Corp.

“We explored our options and attempted to work with Nike before taking legal action,” Marshall Gobuty, founder and chief executive officer of MGI, said in a statement. “As a longtime member of the apparel industry, I find it somewhat disturbing that one of the nation’s model companies in the fight against counterfeits and knockoffs has apparently chosen to go the very route that they so vigorously oppose.”

Nike officials declined to comment but a company spokeswoman said in a statement: “The company respects the intellectual property rights of others but thinks its Dri-Fit Slacker Mock and Dri-Fit Handwarmer Top don’t infringe on MGI’s patents.”

This story first appeared in the September 1, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.