Puma has filed a “notice of opposition” against Nike’s trademark application for “FOOTWARE.”
This case originated back in March 2019, when Nike filed a trademark application with the USPTO for the term FOOTWARE. In the application, Nike stated that it intended to use the “FOOTWARE” trademark in association with internet of things enabled products (such as shoes and apparel with technology in them).
The application was approved and published for opposition in January of 2020. Since then, Puma has taken out a few “extensions of time,” presumably talking with Nike behind the scenes. Apparently nothing was resolved, because on June 17, 2020, Puma filed a formal “notice of opposition” for Nike’s “FOOTWARE” mark.
The case Puma is making is that “footware” is essentially phonetically identical to “footwear.” This makes the trademark highly descriptive. The shoe brand also points out that Nike is far from the only company offering technology-enabled shoes. Finally, the crux of Puma’s argument is that if Nike were granted a registration for the mark “FOOTWARE,” they would own exclusive rights to a term that is descriptive, preventing competitors from using such a term in the marketplace.
The case will now proceed before the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.