After 20 years of sneakerheads accusing BAPE of blatantly biting Nike’s classic Air Force 1 silhouette to sell their own footwear line, the Swoosh has finally sued the Japanese brand for trademark infringement. Everyone is asking the same question: Now?!
Over the past few years Nike has gone lawsuit happy, suing any and everyone for copying their classic sneaker silhouettes or even using their products to make custom pieces and selling them online. Now Nike has BAPE in their crosshairs as they want the popular street brand to stop biting their designs. Reuters is reporting that Nike filed a lawsuit against BAPE Wednesday (Jan. 25) in the Southern District of New York stating that the iconic Japanese street brand’s business “revolves around copying Nike’s iconic designs.”
Sneakerheads been saying this ever since BAPE sneakers hit the scene back in the early 2000’s. Some heads even refuse to rock a pair due to the fact that they’re basically Air Force 1s without a swoosh on the side. The star on the side instead of the check was still pretty dope though. Just sayin.’ After two decades of letting BAPE eat, Nike has finally had enough and have decided to let the courts get involved.
Nike said BAPE’s U.S. sales of the shoes were “sporadic” until 2021, when it “drastically increased the volume and scope of its infringement.”
“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,” the lawsuit said.
Nike also said BAPE “refused” to stop the alleged violations when asked.
The lawsuit said BAPE’s designs will cause confusion among potential customers. It cited secondary-market sellers who referred to the BAPE shoes as “Air Force 1s” or “Dunks.”
Nike is asking the court to order BAPE to stop selling their sneakers and also want an unspecified amount of compensation for money damages.
Word is that Nike and BAPE had some sort of sit down in 2009, and shortly thereafter the latter retreated from the States. But recently, they’ve start selling shoes that are allegedly AF1 knockoffs, again, and here we are.
When Nike began dishing out lawsuits like the point guard off your favorite teams, many felt it was only a matter time before lawyers showed up on BAPE’s door. Now that time has come. Keep in mind that BAPE sneakers aren’t even popping like that in the streets anymore. But that’s neither here nor there.
How this ends is anyone’s guess though it looks like Nike has a strong as Tom Stoltman case on their hands. Don’t be surprised if heads begin hoarding BAPE sneakers in anticipation of a cease and desist order being thrown at the Japanese clothing brand. Heck, we might go get a few pairs ourselves just in case.
What do y’all think about Nike finally taking BAPE to court over their sneakers? Let us know in the comments section below.
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