In a move that many in the Midwest music scene have been anticipating, Nike has officially filed a lawsuit against A Bathing Ape, also known as BAPE, for trademark infringement of several of their iconic sneaker styles, including the Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1, and more.
Nike has a history of legal battles concerning the copyright and trademark infringement of its sneaker designs, with recent cases involving customizer-turned-designer GF-01 and Warren Lotus over the Air Force 1 Low and Dunk Low respectively. Both cases ended in settlements.
Now, Nike is turning its attention to BAPE and several of the brand’s flagship silhouettes. Court documents show that Nike has outlined BAPE as a “copyist whose infringements have recently grown to become a significant danger to Nike’s rights” and that the Japanese label’s “current footwear business revolves around copying Nike’s iconic designs.”
The documents specifically mention the BAPE STA for its similarities to the Air Force 1 Low; the BAPE STA Mid for the Air Force 1 Mid; the SK8 STA for the Dunk Low; the COURT STA High for the Air Jordan 1 High; and COURT STA for the Air Jordan 1 Low. These designs have been released by BAPE for over a decade, raising questions as to why Nike is only now taking legal action.
BREAKING 🚨— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) January 26, 2023
Nike is suing Bape for trademark infringement and is asking for three times the amount of compensatory damages 😳😳 pic.twitter.com/9nkAl9KFnk
According to Nike’s lawyers, “BAPE’s copying is and always has been unacceptable to Nike, and because BAPE’s infringements have recently grown to become a significant danger to Nike’s rights, Nike must act now.”
As neither brand has publicly commented on the case, Midwest music fans will have to wait and see how this legal battle plays out. With BAPE’s designs becoming increasingly popular in recent years, it’s likely that this will be a long and closely watched case in the fashion and music communities.