Following news that sportswear giants Nike has opened a $10 million USD lawsuit against its former senior shoe designers for taking secrets to adidas during their departures, further information has now arisen in this case that primarily concerns intellectual property. Courtesy of the Portland Business Journal, we are presented with a descriptive timeline, which lays out key events in the tenures of Marc Dolce, Mark Miner and Denis Dekovic.
The story started on October 3, 2005, when Nike hired Dolce as senior designer for Active Life, prompting a non-compete clause and secrecy agreement to be signed. In the following month of November, Nike also hired Dekovic as a senior designer. The subsequent years saw Miner taken aboard as a footwear designer in Women’s Training, and the key points in all these landmarks are non-compete clauses being agreed upon, a given in any design company, let alone a brand as big as Nike.
What makes this story even more interesting is the actions these three former employees made in their latter years at Nike, including Dekovic making copies of his hard drive involving his Nike-issued laptop, Dolce emailing confidential Nike design plans to his personal account and suspicions the three even started working for adidas as consultants while being employed by Nike. The sportswear brand will be even further disgruntled by the fact it agreed to pay more than $50,000 in relocation expenses so Dekovic could move his family to Italy, even quoting an email from Dekovic in which he says Italy is one of those “countries where (Nike’s) non-compete is difficult to enforce.”
Readers must take note that all this information is according to Nike and we are yet to hear from the accused, regarding the breach of trade secrecy among other claims. Take a look at the full timeline below and stay tuned for more information as it surfaces.
October 3, 2005: Nike hires Dolce as senior designer for Active Life. He signs a non-compete and secrecy agreement.
November 2005: Nike hires Dekovic as a senior designer.
2007: Nike promotes Dolce to design director for Nike Sportswear.
March 2008: Nike hires Miner as a footwear designer in Women’s Training. He signs a secrecy agreement.
2011: Nike promotes Miner to senior footwear designer for running. He signs a non-compete agreement.
2012: Nike starts a $1.5 million effort known as “Keep It Tight” to prevent leaks of confidential information.
February 7, 2012: Nike promotes Dekovic to design director for Global Football (soccer). He signs a non-compete agreement. Dekovic also signed a secrecy agreement on April 16, 2007.
2014: Nike promotes Dekovic to senior design director.
March 2014: Brian Foresta, Adidas vice president of design for global basketball, contacts Dolce and Dekovic to “discuss professional careers,” according to Nike.
April 2014: Nike claims the designers start a “plot” to leave and take trade secrets. Nike further claims Dekovic, Dolce and Miner bought “thousands of phony social media followers” in order to create “false perception of buzz and popularity” and make themselves more attractive to future employers.
April 29, 2014: Dekovic tells Miner and Dolce to use his personal email address for further communications, according to Nike.
May 18, 2014: Dekovic and Dolce agree on a plan to pay for Instagram and Twitter followers, according to Nike.
May 2014: Nike agrees to pay more than $50,000 in relocation expenses so Dekovic can more his family to Italy. Nike quotes an electronic communication from Dekovic in which he says Italy is one of those “countries where (Nike’s) non compete is difficult to enforce.”
June 2014: Dekovic, Dolce and Miner are “fully engaged” in discussions with officials at Adidas to start a design center modeled after Nike’s innovation lab, which is known as the Kitchen, according to Nike.
June 2014: Dekovic, Dolce and Miner start work for Adidas as consultants while still employed at Nike, according to Nike.
June 29, 2014: Dekovic meets with Adidas Vice President Brian Foresta to talk about the design center.
June 2014: Dekovic, Dolce and Miner raise concerns about legal consequences of consulting for Adidas, according to Nike.
June 21, 2014: Dekovic sends a copy of his Nike non-compete agreement to Adidas.
July 2014: Dekovic and his family move to Italy.
Aug. 22, 2014: Adidas presents Dekovic, Dolce and Miner “lucrative” employment offers, according to Nike.
September 16, 2014: Dekovic copies hard drive of his Nike-issued laptop, according to Nike.
September 19, 2014: Dolce emails confidential Nike design plans to his personal email account, according to Nike.
September 22, 2014: Last day of employment for Dekovic, Dolce and Miner at Nike.
December 8, 2014: Nike files $10 million lawsuit for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets, among other claims.