Vibram has filed a complaint against Fila USA Inc. in the District of Massachusetts alleging infringement of Design Patent Nos. D579,181 ("the '181 patent") and D582,134 ("the '134 patent), and U.S. Utility Patent No. 7,805,860.  According to the complaint, Vibram markets the popular FiveFingers footwear products, which fill the need for "footwear ... which allows independent intrinsic movement of the feet, and particularly the toes ... and yet which still provides coverage and protection to the toes... ."

Vibram alleges Fila's skele-toes products infringe the '181 and '134 patents.  A copy of the comparison provided on page 7 of the complaint is reproduced below.

This suit was reported by The Boston Globe on July 18, 2011.  The Globe quoted Fila as stating the allegations in Vibram's complaint are without merit, and quoted Vibram as stating Vibram "pioneered the minimalist footwear category," and "copyists and counterfeiters have come out of the woodwork."

Brian R. Epstein contributed to this post.