Bootleggers nightmare.

Bootleggers, “independent designers”, and those who like to mooch off of other brand̵7;s goodwill – there is some bad news for you. Nike has trademarked its iconic Air Jordan 1, Air Jordan 1 Low, and Air Jordan 1 Low SE.

What this means is that Nike completely owns the design and silhouette of the aforementioned three sneakers and the U.S. Government recognizes it – therefore, anyone attempting to release a third-party Air Jordan 1, will be punishable by law due to copyright infringement.

What Was The Need?

Well, I’m not a lawyer or anything, but trademarking your products gives you an exclusive right over them. Nike has had to face challenges from designers such as MSCHF or Warren Lottas or even Steve Madden, where they outright copy the design of Nike’s signature line-up or change just a little bit to give their own touch. Pursuing these cases in court on an individual basis costs a great deal of time and money without the presence of a trademark.

Warren Lotas Dunks

With the establishment of a trademark, Nike has a solid and shut case against designers and bootleggers who take a great deal of “inspiration” from the swoosh brand’s designs.

The Argument Against The Trademark

According to Input, Some people really aren’t happy with Nike’s decision to trademark its shoes and have filed counter-suits against the company. One of these counter-suits is led by Lopez who argues that Nike has trademarked the Air Jordan 1 design without the Swoosh – which means that even if independent designers do not include the Swoosh as part of their releases, they can still be taken to court.

According to the counter-suit, “Nike, Inc. is attempting to secure an IP portfolio of unregistrable or improperly registered marks so that it can implement its enforcement actions against small and independent clothing store owners to gain a stronghold and monopoly over the sneaker and apparel industry”.

The argument for the trademark being issued without the Swoosh is that the Air Jordan 1s are easily recognizable even without Nike’s branding, as Steve Madden did back in 2019.

Steve Madden 2019


Nike Pursuing More Trademarks

Nike just isn’t stopping with the Air Jordan 1 – it has successful petitions for the design rights to the Dunk, Air Force 1, and Air Max 95. Moreover, the sneaker giant also has applied for registration for the Air Max 90, Air Foamposite One, Air Jordan 3, Air Jordan 4, Air Jordan 5, and Air Jordan 11. What’s interesting is that each of the filings renders the sneakers without the Swoosh which gives Nike immense power over any case of counterfeit goods.

Take a look at the Air Jordan 1 Trademarks below:

Nike-Secures-Patent-For-AJ1-3.jpg Nike-Secures-Patent-For-AJ1-2.jpg Nike-Secures-Patent-For-AJ1-1.jpg

Looking Forward

Nike is slowly but surely gaining more control over its intellectual property and the resulting silhouettes. This is a big hit to the bootleggers market and those who leech off of other companies’ products. More designers will soon follow in Nike’s footsteps and trademarks their designs as well such as Adidas. It will be interesting to see, moving forward, how bootleggers attempt to combat this trademark.

Till next time, we’re signing off!

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Haider Tahir

Haider first discovered the sneaker market a few years back by accident and has ever since been intrigued by how the market flows and moves. His favorite sneaker is the Jordan 1.


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