Nike has received some good news from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) which granted the sporting goods titan patent and trademark protection for its Air Jordan 1 design, a shoe that made it’s debut in 1985. Nike filed for protection of the silhouette in July 2020 for the the Air Jordan 1 High, Low and Low SE with the court granting the request on June 1, 2021.
The copy of the statement protecting the silhouette describes what’s protected as a “three-dimensional configuration comprising the design of the material panels that form the exterior body of the shoe, the design of the panel on top of the shoe that includes eyelets for the shoe laces, the design of the ridge pattern on the sides of the sole of the shoe, the design of a stitched line running along the midsole of the shoe, and the relative position of these elements to each other.”
In an exchange with Nice Kicks, trademark attorney Zak Kurtz, explained three ways in which the protection will help Nike in its efforts to protect the wildly popular silhouette. First, the ruling will enable the brand to enlist the power of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection with the seizure of goods that infringe at ports of entry. The nature of the trademark also makes it possible for Nike to better dispute online platforms including ebay, Amazon and Alibaba where sellers have managed to skirt the issue by blurring obvious marks like the Swoosh. There’s also the chilling affect of the cost of taking on Nike at the federal level where it’s entitled to three times damages if the court rules a company or individual willfully infringed its mark.
The news comes in the midst of a slew of brands who have drafted off of the Air Jordan 1’s popularity with copycat designs who essentially copy the entre shoe except for the Swoosh.