Don't mess with the Swoosh. In its latest suing spree, Nike is taking on the entire counterfeiting market.
Nike has reportedly filed several lawsuits this year expanding its trademark war on fakes. Just last week the brand began legal proceedings against a Los Angeles-based manufacturer and also filed suit against hundreds of websites and social media accounts for selling counterfeit sneakers.
While Nike has reached a confidential settlement agreement in the Warren Lotas case, the sneaker giant's legal battle over the counterfeit Dunks is far from over. In a complaint filed Friday in California federal court, Nike claimed the contested Warren Lotas sneakers had ultimately originated with a manufacturer called La La Land Production & Design Inc., BloombergLaw reports.
"In order to adequately protect Nike's valuable intellectual property rights, its enforcement of such rights must extend up the supply chain — beyond direct-to-consumer sellers — to actors who are participants in and the moving forces behind the infringing activities of fake sneaker sellers," Nike wrote. "La La Land is one of those bad actors."
For Nike, La La Land's role as the manufacturer of Lota's bootleg Dunks means it "knowingly participated in a scheme to intentionally create confusion in the marketplace and capitalize on it. Suppliers of fake sneakers such as La La Land are uniquely equipped with connections and manufacturing resources that direct-to-consumer sellers lack, and must be held accountable for enabling the widespread infringement of fake sneaker sellers such as Warren Lotas," Nike wrote.
La La Land responded to Nike's suit in a statement to Law360, calling it "completely baseless." It added, "Unfortunately, Nike did not reach out to us beforehand in the spirit of resolution, to probe for information or determine the sound base of their underlying presumption for this frivolous cause of action."
Meanwhile, not only is Nike busy expanding its trademark war up Warren Lotas' supply chain, but the Swoosh is also reportedly taking hundreds of websites and accounts to court for participating in the sale of fakes.
According to a 130-page suit filed this week at the New York District Court, Nike and its subsidiary brand Converse are suing 589 websites as well as 676 social media accounts for allegedly attempting to sell “falsely labeled” counterfeit products.
"Each of defendants’ 589 infringing websites… is currently, or was within the past twelve months, advertising, offering to sell, and/or selling counterfeit Nike or Converse products to United States consumers," the complaint reads. Furthermore, the brands argue that the infringing websites are likely causing and have caused consumers to mistakenly believe that they are authentic Nike and/or Converse products.
In that vein, the lawsuit is asking that the offending parties not only be prevented from selling counterfeit products or any other items that are "confusingly similar" to those manufactured by Nike and Converse, it's also seeking statutory damages of $100,000 per infringing domain.
Long story short, while it's always been criminal to participate in the counterfeiting industry, Nike's recent lawsuits are a warning to everyone out there that it is not the brand to be messed with.