Nike Are Finally Suing BAPE Over Multiple Trademark Infringements

Nike Are Finally Suing BAPE Over Multiple Trademark Infringements

January 26, 2023
Dom Challis

After many designs that bear a striking resemblance to different iconic Nike trainers, the sportswear giants are finally ready to battle it out in a court room against BAPE over alleged trademark infringements. 

Multiple reports tell us that Nike has filed a federal court lawsuit against the Japanese streetwear label A Bathing APE, for trademark infringements of the Nike Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1 and Nike Dunk.

Found below: a graphic chart, submitted by Nike to the U.S. District Court that clearly shows the different BAPE footwear that Nike are accusing the label of copying from their own footwear designs. 

Nike compares BAPE‘s Bape Sta to the AF1, Bape Sta Mid to the AF1 Mid, Sk8 Sta to the Dunk, Court Sta High to the Air Jordan 1, and the Court Sta trainers to the Air Jordan 1 Low.

Probably the easiest to believe case of design copying comes from the Bape Sta, the labels flagship trainers which clearly resembles the Nike AF1. Originally released in 2000, the Bape Sta trainers are usually styled in vibrant colours or a mostly all-white colourway atop of a leather upper. 

According to the lawsuit, Nike explains that the two companies met in 2009 to discuss the Bape Sta design, resulting in BAPE diminishing its U.S. activities and closing the majority of its stores in the country.

Then in 2016, BAPE re-designed the BAPE Sta so that it wouldn’t resemble the AF1 as much, but reintroduced its original design of the silhouette in 2021. This is when Nike says BAPE “drastically increased the volume and scope of its infringement.”

This explains why it seems that Nike has waited so long to finally make a trademark infringement claim against BAPE and their footwear designs, when in fact, the situation has been evolving since 2009.

Nike have brought up BAPE shoes that have been referred to as AF1s or Dunks by second-market seller as evidence in their court case. The sportswear giants have also asked the court to order BAPE to stop selling the shoes and to pay an unspecified amount of money in damages to Nike.

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