The U.S. Supreme Court declared Nike (NYSE:NKE) victorious in their battle to prevent Yums shoemakers Already LLC from suing to void the company’s trademark for their popular Air Force 1 sneakers. Chief Justice John Roberts declared that the court could not proceed with the lawsuit, despite Already’s argument “that dismissing this case allows Nike to bully small innovators lawfully operating in the public domain.”
The whole ordeal dates back to 2009, when Nike sued Already for infringing upon their Air Force 1 trademark by implementing too-similar stitching and eyelet panels on their Sugar and Soulja Boy shoes. Already countersued and Nike dropped the suit, but the small Texas-based company refused to back down.
“Accepting Already’s theory may benefit the small competitor in this case, but lowering the gates for one party lowers the gates for all,” explained Roberts. “As a result, larger companies with more resources will have standing to challenge the intellectual property portfolios of their more humble rivals, not because they are threatened by any particular patent or trademark, but simply because they are competitors in the same market.”
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