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Malpractice Suit in Nike Air Jordan Patent Case

A total of eight attorneys face a $8.1 million legal malpractice suit for allegedly mishandling a patent infringement suit against Nike Inc. over its Air Jordan shoes.

Inventor Lyons claims the expert chosen by the team of lawyers on the case ultimately doomed his suit against Nike and if it weren’t for that poor choice, he would have prevailed in his allegations that Nike infringed his 1996 patent for an “athletic shoe with compression indicators and replaceable spring cassette.”

The thrust of the patent holder’s displeasure with the representation stems from the decision to appoint Dr. Duane Priddy as an expert to testify on the alleged infringement. That testimony ultimately led to a dismissal of the case by U.S. Magistrate Judge Acosta, the complaint said.

“Dr. Priddy is not qualified nor skilled in the art with respect to athletic shoes,” counsel for Lyons said. “The court’s final analysis was that the expert was not qualified … so there wasn’t sufficient expert support for Mr. Lyons.”

Another of Lyon’s experts evaluated the damages of the alleged infringement at $8.1 million, hence the dollar figure in the legal malpractice litigation.

Judge Acosta ruled against Lyons in June 2012, granting Nike’s motion for summary judgment as to noninfringement, but denied the motion as to invalidity.

That ruling was reaffirmed in January 2013 when Judge Acosta denied Lyons’ request for reconsideration of the original ruling.

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