Nike takes former employee to court

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Nike is no stranger to strict guidelines on its branding and protected imagery, including their iconic Swoosh design. You might remember the Satan Shoes and the legal ramifications that followed. Or the Soulja Boy shoes back in 2013.

They most recently took former employee Jeffrey Waskowiak and his company KickRich to court, accusing them of trademark infringement and dilution, or reselling Nike and Converse products after altering them in ways that weren’t previously approved, or official.

Despite the bases of the colorful custom sneakers being genuine Nike articles (like the Air Force 1), and given that KickRich isn’t manufacturing or selling counterfeit products, the fact that the design is used in the first place is already enough to set Nike on its heels.

Image source KickRich

The complaint filed in court alleges that the shoes “combine purportedly genuine Nike shoe soles with uppers fabricated entirely by the defendants” and feature “reproductions” of “protected trade dress,” with the company making a profit from selling the unauthorized product, as reported by The Fashion Law.

There was also a component where Nike highlighted that Waskowiak was combining the Nike brand with other branding, such as the USPS, which is a questionable move, given the USPS incident in which the actual company landed in hot water for.

Classified as “illegal customizations” by Nike, the custom offerings by KickRich do display a mark of craftsmanship on their own: intricate design, illustrations, colorings, with no part of the shoe left behind. They range from personalized customs to themes to color palettes. And in every post caption, they highlight their distance from the Nike company, referring to creations as solely for “artistic expression.”

In a similar case ongoing with a different company, Drip Creationz, Nike has declared that it’s facing a “growing threat” of trademark infringement. They claim that the brand “cannot allow ‘customizers’ to build a business on the backs of its most iconic trademarks.”

Source: | Images: KickRich

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