John Geiger Countersues Nike in Air Force 1 Lookalike Lawsuit

petak , 04.03.2022.

The litigation between Nike and John Geiger over the designer’s Air Force 1 lookalike sneaker is escalating in California district court this week.

In a document filed Tuesday, Geiger’s attorneys countersued Nike’s lawsuit with their own claims, seeking to “invalidate and cancel” what the Geiger team argues are unenforceable trademarks. Throughout the 68-page document, Geiger responds to each statement made in Nike’s August 2021 amended complaint, which added the designer to an existing lawsuit against Los Angeles-based La La Land Production & Design Inc. In the amended suit from August, Nike claimed that Geiger’s GF-01 sneakers, which it says were made by La La Land Production, infringe on the trade dress of its own Air Force 1 design. Geiger says La La Land Production “merely created a GF-01 prototype based on the design Geiger provided” and is not involved in the manufacturing.

The crux of Geiger’s defense revolves around the pieces of the Air Force 1 which are protected by Nike’s trade dress registration, namely the exterior stitching, paneling, eyelets, and the ridge-patterned outsole. It cites recently released modified versions of the Air Force 1, like Travis Scott’s 2019 Cactus Jack collaboration, 2021’s Air Force 1 Experimental (which had its own share of legal issues), and a Serena Williams-inspired iteration as examples of Nike deviating from its own trade dress elements. Because of this, the counterclaim argues that Nike’s trade dress protections are essentially too vague.

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