Nike filed a new trademark infringement lawsuit last week against several “bad actors” accused of knocking off its Air Jordan 1 and Dunk sneaker styles.
According to a complaint filed on Nov. 30 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Nike alleged that defendants Nickwon Arvinger and David Weeks of By Kiy LLC (known as “Kiy”), as well as Bill Omar Carrasquillo (known as “Omi”) of Reloaded Merch LLC were “promoting and selling Nike knockoffs in several colorways.”
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“Kiy’s and Omi’s conduct constitutes trademark infringement, false designation of origin, unfair competition, and trademark dilution,” the lawsuit said. “And the damage to Nike from Kiy’s and Omi’s knockoffs is considerable.”
Nike added that Kiy’s and Omi’s knockoffs “dilute” Air Jordan 1 and Dunk trade dress and they “confuse, and are likely to confuse,” consumers as to the source, origin, affiliation, and/or sponsorship of the products, especially in the post-sale environment.
The athletic giant also stated in the complaint that it attempted to reach a resolution with Kiy that “does not involve the continued theft of Nike’s Air Jordan 1 design,” but no progress was made. Similarly, Nike said that despite receiving notice from Nike of its infringement, Omi “continues to profit from the theft” of its designs.
What’s more, Nike alleged in the complaint that “bad actors” involved in this infringement include “others in the supply chain” who provide material assistance to direct-to-consumer infringers. This led to the footwear company to add Chinese company Xiamen Wandering Planet Import and Export Co., Ltd. to the suit.
“Upon information and belief, Wandering Planet manufactures, distributes, sources, sells, and/or supplies knockoff Nike Air Jordan 1 and Dunk sneakers to Kiy, Omi, and possibly others who subsequently sell those products to consumers,” Nike said in the suit.
“Nike cannot allow bad actors like Defendants to confuse consumers by building a business on the back of Nike’s most famous trademarks, undermining the value of those trademarks and the message they convey,” the company added.
According to court documents, Nike is seeking an award of three times the amount of compensatory damages and increased profits, an award of statutory damages, and an order that defendants account Nike for any and all profits earned as a result of “defendants’ acts in violation of Nike’s rights.”
In a statement posted to Instagram last week, Kool Kiy, the CEO and head designer of Kiy Studios, wrote: “Woke up this morning to a lawsuit from the mega giant corporation that I supported my whole life. The fact that they suing a young Black man who started out exactly how they did is kinda crazy to me. Ironic how they tell us to ‘Just Do It.’ Kiy ready tho.”
Carrasquillo didn’t directly address Nike on social media, but in an Instagram post on Tuesday, he seemingly hit back at the company posting a picture of a Reebok shoe that looks similar to an Air Jordan 1. “Yo Nike how ys (sp) letting Reebok do this man is this changed enough,” he wrote.
FN has reached out to Nike for further comment.
This lawsuit is the latest legal action Nike has taken to protect its trademarks. In August, footwear designer John Geiger and Nike resolved their trademark infringement battle. That same month, Nike and Adidas settled a series of U.S. patent disputes over sneaker technology.
What’s more, Odell Beckham Jr. filed a lawsuit against Nike Inc. last month, claiming that the athletic powerhouse “failed to live up to its promises and refuses to abide by its contract.” According to a lawsuit filed in an Oregon Circuit court on Nov. 14, Nike is “willfully withholding millions of dollars” from the longtime Nike athlete and NFL star, who has worked with the Swoosh since 2014. Beckham is seeking more than $20 million in damages.