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Nike Settles Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against BAPE

Nike Settles Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against BAPE



ike has settled its trademark infringement lawsuit against BAPE, also known as A Bathing Ape. According to a filing submitted in New York’s Southern District Court, Nike and BAPE entered into a settlement agreement that would end their dispute, which was centered on BAPE’s alleged imitation of Nike’s iconic designs, like the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan.

The filing stated that the two parties ended the dispute in a “stipulated dismissal” in which BAPE “agreed to discontinue the BAPE STA Mid, COURT STA, and COURT STA High footwear products, and has further agreed to modify the design of the BAPE STA and SK8 STA footwear products.”

Why did Nike sue BAPE?

Quick backstory. Back in January 2023, Nike filed a trademark infringement suit against BAPE, accusing the brand of “copying iconic Nike shoe designs,” and that some of its shoes are “near verbatim” copies of Nike’s Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1, and Dunk sneakers. Protected by the Lanham Act, which prohibits a number of activities, including trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and false advertising, Nike sought to protect the design of its products, each of which is inextricably tied to the brand’s history and image. Hence, the lawsuit. nike-trademark-infringement-lawsuit-bape-style-raveBAPE did not start selling its infringing sneakers in the United States until the mid-2000s, according to the lawsuit. However, Nike did not feel the need to pursue litigation at the time. This was because BAPE was struggling to gain popularity in the U.S. footwear market. And for the past 15 years, BAPE has “drastically increased the volume and scope of its infringement.” The lawsuit further indicates, “BAPE’s copying is and always has been unacceptable to Nike, and because BAPE’s infringements have recently grown to become a significant danger to Nike’s rights, Nike must act now.”

Nike’s lawsuit does not come as a surprise to sneakerheads. They have been anticipating it because the brand has repeatedly issued infringement warnings to BAPE. The first is stated to have taken place in 2009 when the footwear giant met with BAPE to address “BAPE’s pirating of Nike’s iconic Air Force 1 design and to protect Nike’s intellectual property right.” BAPE got the memo and stopped selling the sneakers. This back and forth went on until the recent development of their agreement, which prevents BAPE from selling Nike’s footwear silhouettes that resemble its products.

Featured image: @nike/Instagram 

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