Nike Lawsuits: A Brief History Of The Brand’s Favorite Legal Sport!

 In News, Nike

nike-lawsuits-historyIf y’all take a look back at 2022’s sneaker news or 2023’s recap, you’ll find ‘em Nike lawsuits sealing the limelight in both years. Thing is, this ritual ain’t anything new. And if you go down in history, you’ll notice that Nike’s lawsuit parade goes way back. It’s like the brand got a section in its marketing department called “Lawsuit Profit Management” or something. What can we say? A sneaker giant gotta do what a sneaker giant gotta do! With Adidas busy controlling its share prices from plummeting even more, Nike gotta make up for both cool sneaker drops and, well… a lil drama to keep things spiced up! Now, let’s check together the Nike lawsuit history. 

But before we dive into all of them deets, you gotta know, you can keep yourself up-to-date with all that goes down in the sneaker industry, as well as upcoming drops. How? By pushing that notification button on our blog

Nike Lawsuits History: Wanna Take A Trip Down Memory Lane?

Nike lawsuits are endless! So a whole complete list would go on and on for ages on no end. That’s why we’ll only offer you some of the most recent and biggest cases that carry all the weight! 

1- Nike vs Warren Lotas


Let’s start with the first Nike lawsuit, shall we? So, in 2022 Warran Lotas joined forces with one of the Swoosh’s collaborators, Jeff Staple, to drop the Staple Pigeon Warren Lotas Reinterpreted OG Shoes. The said “reinterpreted” sneaker is the Nike Dunk SB Low Staple NYC Pigeon. So, if Staple was already a partner with Nike, what’s this case about? Well, you see, Lotas didn’t exactly ask for Nike’s permission for this so-called sneaker reintroduction. 

And this is the reason why Nike filed a trademark and anti-dilution lawsuit against Warran Lotus on October 14, 2020! Claiming that the brand didn’t give authorization for such a release. These kicks actually raised confusion in the market where people couldn’t tell if these kicks were fakes or customized shit! And in all honesty, they did look like a fake as-heck pair of Dunks. 

Nike also declared that it “protects its iconic sneaker designs, and its intellectual property in those designs, by rooting-out bad actors that undermine the DNA of sneaker culture by promoting and selling fakes.” Then added, “Warren Lotas is one those bad actors,” who is “currently promoting and selling fakes of coveted Nike Dunks.” 

However, this legal battle didn’t last long as Nike settled it a month or so after! And of course, Nike being Nike didn’t leave empty-handed. The agreement banned Lotas from “manufacturing, transporting, promoting, importing, advertising, publicizing, distributing, offering for sale, or selling any products” that violate the Swoosh’s trademarks. And although Nike announced no official financial settlements, rumors had it that Lotas must’ve paid big chunks to settle things down.

2- MSCHF vs Nike


MSCHF is a brand popular for the weird twists it adds to other known designs. It’s just how the brand is. It goes without saying that MSCHF reinvents well-known products and brands to insult more traditional sensibilities. Or it just creates weird random shit to hype the industry a lil bit. Y’all must’ve heard of the famous Red Boots, right? If not, check them out here, and you’ll get where we’re coming from! 

However, such a job doesn’t just pass without consequences, especially when Nike’s involved. In 2021, MSCHF collaborated with the rapper, Lil Nas X to drop 666 pairs of Nike’s Air Max 1. Number’s giving you a weird vibe? Well, as it should! Because these sneakers revolved around a satanic theme! The $1,028-priced sneaker featured an inverted cross, a Bible verse: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven,” and a drop of human blood in the soles! The mindblowing part, these Satan Shoes sold out in under a minute! This caused one heck of an outrage to fall on Nike’s head as some called for a boycott of the brand. Thing is, the Swoosh had nothing to do with it as it didn’t even authorize this drop in the first place!

So, Nike filed a lawsuit against MSCHF. And it didn’t take long for MSCHF to agree to settle this case as the brand’s attorney declared that the brand “already achieved its artistic purpose.” And this is how brands push boundaries y’all! 

3- Adidas vs Nike 


Now here’s the real tea peeps! The two leading sneaker giants weren’t spared from facing each other in court! Okay, this one is gonna leave you with some questions that you already know the answer to, anyway… 

So, it started with Nike suing Adidas, claiming that a number of Adidas’ shoe designs violate several Nike patents, which are related to the Swoosh’s Flyknit technology. But the Three Stripes didn’t do it the typical way. Finding evidence that proves otherwise and such ordinary shit. On the contrary, Adidas decided to fight fire with fire as it filed a lawsuit of its own against Nike. It’s like the Three Stripes been waiting for Nike to do this move for ages, as it was well-prepared as it accused Nike of violating its patents with its SNKRS app for limited-edition shoe sales, Run Club, Adapt shoe-fitting technology, and Training Club exercise apps! 

Next thing you know, both companies dismissed and dropped each other’s cases! Well, that was the most unproblematic case among them Nike lawsuits! 

4- StockX vs Nike  


Y’all thought Nike lawsuits history wouldn’t reach the virtual world? Well, it did, as the Swoosh sued StockX for trademark infringement related to its NFT Vault. Nike claimed StockX’s selling of NFTs images with Nike kicks on them caused consumer confusion, as well as messed with its future NFT plans. 

StockX responded to that by explaining that these sneaker NFTs are just “claim tickets” for buyers to access the physical kicks they bought, which are kept in its “Vault.” But this Nike lawsuit didn’t stop here, as Nike hit the X with selling fakes claims! As a result and to dodge a bullet, StockX removed its authentication tags and replaced them with “StockX Verified” tags! 

This lawsuit is still an ongoing one as both sides been firing claims and statements back and forth between each other. 

5- Kool Kiy vs Nike


Just before 2022 was coming to an end, Nike hits us with another trademark infringement case. At this point, we don’t know what to tell you besides Nike ain’t only capitalizing on dope drops… Anyway, the Swoosh sued kool Kiy on November 30, 2022, for “near-verbatim copying.” These “copied” designs included Air Jordan 1s and Dunks. It’s worth noting that the Swoosh did send them warnings for such acts, but got no response whatsoever. So what other option does it have other than filing a lawsuit? That became more of a skill if we’re being honest. Anyway, if you wanna check all of ‘em deets, click here

6- Lululemon vs Nike 


So we got our fill with Nike lawsuits in 2022, but Nike ain’t one to disappoint! It didn’t just sue brands this year, but rather started the year by filing the Nike lawsuits! As we said… skills! For a change of scenery and topics, this time it wasn’t about sneaker designs. Gotta thank the Swoosh for keeping the sneaker culture alive… with news, that is. Because it sure as heck looks like its rooting for the death of every brand with sneakers on its launch list!

As we said, it ain’t about similar shoe designs this time but rather about Lululemon using similar sneaker technology as the Swoosh! Flyknit technology. If you’re interested in knowing more about this case, here’s your guide

7- Bape x Nike


Might we point out that Nike’s a lil too late for such a lawsuit? Like, is the brand for real? It waited 20 years to notice BAPE’s shoe designs looked like their own! Or wait, is this some kinda strategy? Wait till the brand becomes worthy enough.. which just means a hefty settlement? We don’t wanna assume shit now peeps!

Anyway, the Swoosh claimed, Bape’s been selling “copies of iconic Nike designs.” And the latest of them is the Air Jordan 1 High. Which made Nike finally snap! Know more about this Nike lawsuit here!

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