BAPE Respond to Nike Lawsuit
After what seems like a long time coming, Nike are officially suing BAPE, launching a trademark infringement and dilution lawsuit against the Japanese streetwear brand. Nike have called out five silhouettes – the BAPE STA, BAPE STA Mid, SK8 STA, COURT STA High and COURT STA – arguing that each is ‘Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1, and Dunk sneaker designs’, as reported by The Fashion Law.
The lawsuit is sure to be one of the industry’s most significant moves of the year, so keep it locked here as we keep the updates coming.
BAPE Want Nike Complaint Dismissed
Update February 20, 2023: BAPE have issued their first response to the January-issued lawsuit. BAPE’s legal team are requesting that the complaint is dismissed by Nike, as revealed by a letter notifying the court of a pre-motion conference, submitted to New York’s Southern District Court on Friday, as shared by Sneaker Legal.
The letter includes further details on the lengthy 14-year dispute, detailing meetings in 2009 during which Nike reportedly objected to BAPE’s sneaker designs and proposed a licencing agreement.
BAPE lawyers state that Nike have ‘repeatedly failed to identify in detail the nature of its alleged rights in the overall look of its sneakers.’ Furthermore, it’s stated that ‘Nike’s in-house counsel and Nike’s V.P. of footwear flew to Japan to meet with BAPE’s leadership to object to BAPE’s sneaker designs as purportedly infringing Nike’s trade dress. Following these two meetings, Nike presented BAPE with a proposed agreement that would require BAPE to stop selling its BAPE STA sneakers’. BAPE rejected the agreement, as per emails. Nike reportedly dropped the matter in 2009.
Then, the letter states, ‘Three years later, in 2012, Nike introduced its new in-house counsel to BAPE, indicating that he wanted to further discuss Nike’s concerns regarding the BAPE STA sneakers. But Nike’s new in-house counsel never contacted BAPE.’,
Nike are expected to dismiss the motion.
Nike vs BAPE
Update January 25, 2023: The BAPE STA first entered the world back in the year 2000, so why the lawsuit now? Nike have answered the question by stating that 'at all times prior to 2021', its sales didn't ever actually surpass more than 'a small fraction of the millions of pairs Nike sells annually.' But in recent years, it's become apparent that BAPE have begun to 'increase its volume and scope of its infringement' – by expanding physical stores in the US and introducing models like the SK8 STA, the COURT STA, and the COURT STA High. As such, Nike is looking to protect its iconic trademarks.
Nike are also claiming that they had contacted and met with BAPE in 2009 to address the AF-1 design and intellectual property rights, whereby BAPE 'significantly and materially diminished its U.S. activities.'
Concluding their opening legal proceedings, Nike reiterate why they are choosing to 'act now'. The brand stated, 'BAPE’s copying is and always has been unacceptable … and because BAPE’s infringements have recently grown to become a significant danger to Nike’s rights.'
Nike are seeking monetary damages, and are hoping to end BAPE making and marketing the allegedly infringing sneakers. According to a number of sources, both brands have declined to comment on the lawsuit.