Nike continues to pursue legal action against independent companies that it claims are copying its branded sneaker designs. This time the target is John Geiger, a well-known customizer-turned-designer who launched his own lifestyle brand in 2017.
According to Law360, an amended lawsuit filed by Nike on Thursday added John Geiger Collection LLC as a defendant to an ongoing lawsuit against Los Angeles-based La La Land Production & Design Inc. Nike claims Geiger’s “GF-01” shoes violate trade dress. of his Air Force 1 and that La La Land helps make the look-alikes.
“By marketing and selling footwear using Nike’s registered Air Force 1 trade dress, John Geiger knowingly and intentionally creates confusion in the marketplace and capitalizes on Nike’s reputation and the reputation of its iconic footwear,” says Nike. in the complaint.
If the name La La Land Production & Design Inc. sounds familiar, you might remember it as the production company named in Nike’s lawsuit against Warren Lotas for his “bootleg” Dunk designs last year. While Nike’s lawsuit against La La Land is being extended, it no longer includes Lotas, who settled with the company last December.
La La Land has already responded to Nike’s latest decision, after filing an amended counterclaim against the sportswear giant. He accuses the company of using “unduly aggressive, disproportionate and very heavy-handed litigation strategies” to enforce “questionable” trade dress rights.
“Nike’s strategy is to stifle competition and intimidate legitimate businesses…which often lack the resources to defend against such a well-endowed adversary,” the manufacturer said. “There is an intimidating nature to these actions that chills creativity and legal competition.”
Geiger himself took to Instagram to address the lawsuit on Friday night. He suggests that Nike benefited from the ideas of himself and other independent designers and gets candid about the inspiration behind the GF-01.
Before creating his own brand, Geiger exploded onto the sneaker scene in 2015, when he teamed up with sneaker customizer The Shoe Surgeon to produce Air Force 1 “Misplaced Checks”, authentic pairs of the model that have been customized to feature a variety of Swoosh. logos on the upper in different materials and textures.
Generally considered Nike’s most important sneaker, the Air Force 1 is said to total more than $800 million in sales per year. Citing examples of market confusion, Nike pointed to its own authorized collaborations with designers and its Nike By You platform, which allows customers to design their own legitimate sneakers, including the Air Force 1. The complaint also included screenshots of Geiger’s Instagram activity, in which he acknowledged that the GF-01 is his version of the Air Force 1.