Nike (NYSE:NKE -0.01%) is finally taking a stand against BAPE, suing the Japanese fashion brand for allegedly copying some of its most iconic footwear designs. Reuters reports that the Oregon-based shoe giant has filed a federal court lawsuit against A Bathing Ape for trademark infringement on the Nike Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1 and Nike Dunk.
The lawsuit claims that “BAPE’s current footwear business revolves around copying Nike’s iconic designs.” The document also shows cases five of BAPE’s top-selling footwear products — the BAPE STA, BAPE STA Mid, SK8 STA, COURT STA High, and COURT STA — and now they are “near verbatim copies” of Nike’s aforementioned sneakers. Nike claims that BAPE first introduced its first trademark-infringing footwear in the U.S. in 2005 and that for the 15 years, BAPE has had a presence in the American market, they have been infringing products. Sales of BAPE in the U.S. have reportedly been “sporadic” up until 2021, when the label, now owned by Hong Kong-based I.T. Ltd., “drastically increased the volume and scope of its infringement.”
The lawsuit indicates, “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.” While both companies’ representatives have not yet commented on the issue, Nike has said that BAPE has “refused” to stop violating the trademark infringements when asked, leading to this lawsuit. Nike is hoping that BAPE will stop selling the shoes and pay a requested, unspecified amount of money for damages incurred.