Footwear designer John Geiger and Nike have resolved their trademark infringement battle.
According to a statement on Geiger’s social media accounts, the two parties have resolved their lawsuit via an amicable resolution that includes a consent judgement. As part of the agreement, Geiger agreed to modify the design of his GF-01 shoes, which Nike had initially flagged for trademark infringement.
“Nike respects John Geiger as a designer and other designers like him and both parties are pleased to resolve this dispute in a way that allows John Geiger to continue building his brand while also respecting Nike’s intellectual property rights in its iconic Air Force 1 trade dress,” the statement read.
FN has reached out to Nike for a comment.
Nike initially named Geiger as a defendant in August 2021, expanding its initial complaint against footwear manufacturer La La Land Production & Design. According to the complaint, La La Land supplied Geiger with sneakers that were similar to Nike’s Air Force 1 shoes, which infringed on certain trade dress elements for that product. Nike said that Geiger’s marketing and selling of the shoes intentionally created “confusion in the marketplace” and capitalized “on Nike’s reputation and the reputation of its iconic shoes.”
In November, Geiger filed a motion to dismiss the trademark infringement lawsuit, arguing that the GF-01 shoes did not constitute trademark infringement or unfair competition to Nike because it is unlikely that consumers would mistake these shoes for Nike products. In the motion, Geiger’s counsel argued that his shoes lack Nike’s iconic Swoosh and instead feature Geiger’s own signature “G” logo.
“Ask anyone in the world how to spot a Nike, and they will tell you: look for the Swoosh,” read the filing, which argued that this distinction made confusion between brands unlikely.
Geiger’s counsel also challenged the claim that Geiger infringed on functional elements of the product such as sneaker stitching, which is similar across multiple brands.
“I’m preparing to fight this battle for all creator and underdogs fighting the same uphill battle as me,” Geiger wrote in a public statement on his Instagram account last August. “I’ve been very clear throughout the two years of developing and selling the GF-01 that this silhouette was inspired by Nike and also made sure that anyone purchasing the shoe is aware it is a designer shoe crafted with higher-end materials and quality, along with my trademark and changes to the silhouette.”
Nike did not previously respond to requests for comment on the legal action. In the last year, Nike has filed similar trademark infringement complaints.
In a lawsuit filed in a federal court in California on July 19, 2021, Nike alleged that Customs By Ilene Inc., or popular sneaker customizing business Drip Creationz, was responsible for trademark infringement and dilution of its products as well as selling counterfeit shoes that claim to be Nike products.
In March of 2021, Nike filed another trademark infringement lawsuit against MSCHF, the company that created and sold a number of “Satan Shoes” in collaboration with Lil Nas X in March. The sneakers were based off the Nike Air Max 97 and were ultimately recalled by MSCHF after a settlement agreement was reached in April.