Nike has issued a lawsuit against Los Angeles-based streetwear brand Warren Lotas for ripping off one of its sneaker designs, Los Angeles Daily News reports. On top of accusing Warren Lotas of promoting and selling a shoe that is “confusingly similar” to the famed "NYC Pigeon" Nike SB Dunk Low, Nike has now slapped Lotas with an injunction filing to stop the distribution of the pre-sold sneakers.
Warren Lotas has assured consumers who pre-ordered the allegedly infringing sneakers that they will get them. In a series of Instagram posts last week, Los Angeles-based Lotas stated that “as of now, both releases will be fulfilled as promised.” The shoes, which are produced from scratch to order are slated to be shipped to consumers in December. However, this very well might not go as planned.
According to the Notice of Motion and Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by Nike on Monday, the confusion already caused by the lookalike sneakers “will only escalate if Warren Lotas is allowed to fulfill the pre-orders.” If Warren Lotas is able to “flood the market with its fakes,” Nike claims that it will “lose control over its hard-earned reputation, and the goodwill [that it] has spent decades building in its trademarks will be damaged.” As such, Nike argues that Warren Lotas must be formally prohibited from “fulfilling the pre-orders for the infringing sneakers during the pendency of this action.”
Nike has also asked the court to require Warren Lotas to escrow the money it has already received from all pre-orders taken to date for the $300 infringing sneakers in order to "return those funds to customers who ordered [its] fakes" in case Nike's injunction prevails.
The injunction follows court papers filed last week, in which Nike accused Warren Lotas of promoting and selling a shoe that is “confusingly similar” to the famed "NYC Pigeon" Nike SB Dunk Low designed by Jeff Staple.
“Warren Lotas only recently announced these sneakers, but there is already confusion in the marketplace regarding whether they are legitimate customizations or illegal fakes,” the complaint reads. “Warren Lotas intentionally created the confusion, and he is attempting to capitalize on it, by, among other things, using Nike’s registered Dunk word mark, using Nike’s registered Dunk trade dress, and using a mark that is confusingly similar to Nike’s famous Swoosh design to promote and sell his fakes.”
Warren Lotas recently posted a picture of the shoe in question, labeling it a reinterpretation of the original Pigeon Dunks. "An official reinterpretation of a fucking CLASSIC," the brand said in the Instagram caption, going on to add, "THIS IS A WARREN LOTAS SHOE, IT IS PRODUCED FROM SCRATCH BY ME. PLEASE KNOW THAT. NO ALIBABA BULLSHIT. ITALIAN MATERIALS."
In the post, WL also shouted out the designer of the OG Pigeon Dunks, Jeff Staple, alluding to a collaborative effort between the two, or at the very least, suggesting Staple gave his blessing. Staple himself then promoted the pre-sale of the Warren Lotas sneaker on his own Instagram page.
As you can see by looking at a picture of the original Dunks above and the Warren Lotas variation below, they look almost identical, down to the Swoosh branding and pigeon embroidery.
“As a direct and proximate result of WL’s wrongful acts, Nike has suffered, continues to suffer, and/or is likely to suffer damage to its trademarks, business reputation, and goodwill that money cannot compensate," the lawsuit states. "Unless restrained, WL will continue to use the Swoosh design mark and/or confusingly similar marks, and will cause irreparable damage to Nike for which Nike has no adequate remedy at law.”
As Daily News points out, Nike is asking a Los Angeles federal judge to order Warren Lotas to stop manufacturing and selling the fake Dunks. The brand is also seeking damages and “any and all profits earned as a result of WL’s acts in violation of Nike’s rights.” Furthermore, it's worthy of note that whether directly involved with the Warren Lotas shoe or not, Nike has left Jeff Staple, who holds a registered trademark for the pigeon graphic, out of the lawsuit.
The Jeff Staple-designed "NYC Pigeon" Dunks are one of the most coveted Nike sneakers to ever release. An original pair recently sold at auction for a whopping $25,200.
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