Nike has initiated quite a few trademark infringement lawsuits in recent years, as well as filing trade dress trademark applications to protect its iconic sneaker designs.
Business Insider spoke to trademark attorney Josh Gerben about the brand’s trademark enforcement strategy.
It’s likely that the trade dress filings protecting Nike’s sneaker designs are related to the company’s efforts to eliminate the sale of counterfeit shoes through online marketplaces.
“They’re setting up their IP portfolio to be able to do non-litigation enforcement, ” Josh Gerben, founder of Gerben IP, told Insider. “You want to be able to avoid court.”
In the meantime, the company has filed lawsuits against multiple companies that it believed were infringing upon its designs. The most well-known lawsuit was against MSCHF, the company that partnered with Lil Nas X to create the “Satan Shoes.”
This lawsuit seems to have been a tipping point for Nike, posits Gerben, as Nike previously ignored the MSCHF-created, “Jesus Shoes.” It wasn’t until the release of the “Satan Shoes” that the company decided to file a lawsuit.
“What Nike’s lawyers are likely telling them is you can’t pick and choose whether you like it or not,” said Gerben. “You have to have a policy that you allow it or you do not allow it.”
Source: Kish, Matthew and Santana, Danni. BusinessInsider.com. “Nike is doubling down on litigation in a fierce battle to protect its patents and trademarks. Here’s every brand it has sued in recent years”. 1 March 2023.