Hardly any sneaker is as iconic as the Air Jordan 1! 35 years after the first appearance of a Jordan 1, Nike has now received a patent on the design of the silhouette from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. But what exactly can they do with it and how will it change the sneaker world?
Copies of the Air Jordan 1 are now a thing of the past
One of Jordan Brand's most famous silhouettes was first released in 1985 with the Jordan 1 High. The look quickly became one of the most copied sneaker designs. Big chains like K-Mart and Target released sneakers that looked suspiciously similar to the first Air Jordan 1. Nike itself also designed a more affordable Air Jordan 1, the Air Jordan 1 KO. KO also stands for knock off.
Today, in 2021 and thus 35 years later, the Air Jordan 1 is popular again as never before and there are many bootlegs and remakes of the model in circulation. For this reason, Nike has now officially trademarked the Air Jordan 1.
As you can see in the pictures below, many sneakers are made that look like the Air Jordan 1. Often, only the branding on the ankle and of course the Swoosh are changed to a different symbol or text.
The Nike Trademark Process
On 31 July 2020, Nike filed a trademark application for the Air Jordan 1 High, Low and Low SE. In December 2020, the work was published and there were then 30 days to file an opposition to the application. However, on the last day of those 30 days, Vans' lawyers filed an extension against the trademark of the three Jordan 1 versions. This gave them another 90 days to oppose the three applications. However, Vans did not file an objection in these 90 days and so the trademark for the Jordan 1 High, Low and Low SE is now approved and official. But what's in it for Nike?
What does it mean for Nike that the design of the Jordan 1 is now protected?
First of all, the Swoosh Brand can now turn to US Customs so that Customs and Border Protection can help seize goods that infringe this trademark. In plain language, this means that products that resemble the Air Jordan 1 too closely can be seized and thus no longer sold.
In addition, Nike can now much more easily contest legal cases that infringe their trademark, i.e. the design of the three Jordan variants. Since there is an official trademark, it is much more difficult and expensive for other parties to defend themselves.
Finally, Nike is now also entitled to treble damages if the court finds that a party nevertheless intentionally infringed its trademark.
Last but not least, the brand can now take action against pirates on websites like Alibaba, Aliexpres and Ebay. Previously, this was not possible because the Swoosh or other branding was often omitted from the product image, but the actual product had these features, which is why no one could be prosecuted. Now Nike can also challenge these cases more easily.
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