This article on ‘EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NIKE’S TRADEMARK POLICIES‘ is written by Priyal, a 4th-year student from ICFAI University, Dehradun and an intern at Legal Upanishad.
The article is about the Nike trademark policies. The article will be highlighting Nike’s trademark Policies, affiliated brands, Nike’s trade secrets and its policy regarding permission to use the trademark.
We all know that the trademarks of a company are a most important intellectual property asset of an organization. It is a backbone for the recognition of a company. Every single company or organization present and dealing in different industries for providing goods and services in the market to the consumers are represented by their unique identification tool called trademarks.
NIKE COMPANY AND NIKE’S TRADEMARK
Nike, recognized as the largest global athletic apparel company is an America-based multinational company best appreciated for its finest services of footwear, athletic wear, apparel and fitness equipment. Over the years of services, Nike has occupied a substantial position in the global market. Today, Nike is one of the most trusted and favourable brands which attracts consumers only by its name.
Obviously, before entering the market, Nike has also designed its trademark for recognition and its exclusive trademark policies for the use of such marks in the market. Nike’s trademarks are the trademarks that are solely owned by this manufacturing company. The company use the mark to protect its brand in the global market.
Having a trademark at a particular place, Nike can prevent the unauthorized and illegal use of their mark in a country. The things which could be considered under trademarks are names, logos, figures, catchphrases etc. Nike owns several famous trademarks like their famed swoosh mark and the catchphrase “Just do it”.
Nike’s Trademark Policies
Ownership of the content
According to Nike’s terms of agreement and ownership of the trademark, except the content of the user, all the other contents which are there on Nike’s platform such as any text, code, software, sketches, figures, animation, applications, videos, graphics, photos, sounds, news, stories, general artwork and any other concerning content is solely owned by Nike company and the other organization or company from which they license their content. Such contents are protected under copyright. Patents, trademarks and other IP laws. Overall it is clear that Nike reserves all the IP rights belonging to the company.
Terms of ownership
As per the terms of ownership of Nike, All the trademarks, tradenames as well as service marks like a brand name or swoosh mark are solely owned, registered and licensed by the Nike company. This invokes that no other person can acquire the license and the ownership claim of any trademarks, tradenames or service marks.
Neither a user of the content can neither swap nor delete the notice of ownership from any materials that have been downloaded or printed from Nike’s platform.
“NIKE” v. “Nike”
“NIKE” is a renowned company that uses its actual name as a trademark. When we refer to a real Nike company, it is always suggested to refer to the company as “NIKE Inc” but using the name in capitalization for referring to the brand leads to a trademark infringement. Therefore, while referring to the brand of the company, it is always suggested to refer to it without any capitalization in the context of “Nike”.
Other integrated brands with Nike
One of its integrated brands of Nike is Hurley International LLC and Converse Inc. The company Hurley International LLC and Converse Inc is an America-based clothing brand that deals with clothes and accessories. In 2019, Nike declared the sale of Hurley company to Bluestar Alliance.
Trade Secrets Nike
The trade secrets of Nike are famously associated with a case between Nike and Adidas where the dispute aroused between these two well-known companies related to the design of the shoes manufactured by both companies. The dispute became uglier when a German co. started setting up a design office for both Nike and Adidas in New York. The co. also hired 3 designers for its rival.
Nike sued all the 3 designers to receive compensation of $10 million for breach of non-compete agreements with Nike and also taking confidential designs of product, their marketing plans and other trade secrets.
The claim was made by Nike that their confidential information was known to an individual who introduced the rivalry to hire them with the sake of promise to divide the wealth that will originate from a competitive advantage. The hired designers then attempted to delete the emails and other data while being a Nike member, to hide their misdeeds. But Nike managed to reveal enough information and access to its employees and Adidas. It was found that the employees wanted to start their own business but the lack of funds led them to Adidas.
Nike filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction that required the designers to hand over all the confidential details they had and avoid their public relations with Adidas. With this lawsuit, Nike was granted a temporary restraining order from the court against its employees.
The designers countersued the company on the ground that the allegations made by Nike are false and violative of the designer’s privacy. They also stated that the corporate culture of Nike was choking their creativity which was unpleasant for many designers working in the company. There was a form of distrust existing between the executives and the creatives within the company.
As a result of this huge battle with the designers, Nike started showing a gap in the armour. It may happen that this battle is not having any significant influence on the company’s existing market share but can be harmful in its future.
DO Nike PERMITS FOR THE USE OF ITS TRADEMARKS & LOGOS?
Based on the ownership agreement of Nike, the company does not permit any third parties from using or modifying its self-owned trademark, logos and other similar materials. It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure that the use of the trademark used by them is legally permissible. For example, the usage of the Nike logo in a particular textbook can be considered under the fair use of the mark in certain situations. However, Nike does not consider any of the requests made for the granting of permission or interviews upon the usage of the trademark.
Nike’s TRADEMARKS INFRINGEMENT POLICY
Normally, a standard stipulated time for registration of a trademark exists for at least 10 years and can be renewed for the next 10 years after the expiration of the initial time span. According to Nike’s trademark policies, the party making unauthorized and illegal use of the marks owned by Nike is solely responsible for the infringement of the trademark regardless of the fact that whether the infringement action was initiated and done with or without any malicious intentions to secure market position.
CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS
It is finally concluded that a trademark is a valuable asset that belongs to a particular company. In a vast competition, to secure a position and identification, it is important to register the trademark. But only registration does not regard safe play. It is important to have a company policy guaranteeing the security of the company’s reputation and identification in the market.
- Nike Trademarks. (n.d.). Gerben Trademark Library. https://www.gerbenlaw.com/trademarks/footwear/nike/.
- Policies. (n.d.). Nike Purpose. https://purpose.nike.com/sustainability-policies.
- Nike Code of Conduct. May 2019. https://s1.q4cdn.com/806093406/files/doc_downloads/2019/05/Nike-Inside-the-Lines-Code-of-Conduct_May-2019.pdf.