October 08, 2014

Nike Advertising Campaigns Are Forever, Trademark Infringement Lawsuits Are Not

by Guest Blogger

Kobe 41

Some things are forever. Like diamonds. And Nike. And Kobe Bryant. And Legends (allegedly).

Some things are not. Like heroes (allegedly). And the trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Cooperstown, New York sports memorabilia shop Legends are Forever against Nike.

On September 27, 2012, Legends are Forever, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Nike, Inc. alleging that Nike had infringed its trademark LEGENDS ARE FOREVER as part of a Kobe Bryant ad campaign originally featuring the phrase "heroes come and go, but legends are forever" (the latter part later changed to "legends live forever").

Early last week, the lawsuit was dismissed by the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.

The Court held, among other things, that there was no likelihood of confusion as to the origin or sponsorship of Nike's services. In so ruling, the Court evaluated the well-known Polaroid factors, which are restated below for those of you that do not make a habit of memorizing non-exclusive multi-factor tests developed by the federal courts:

(1) The strength of the mark;

(2) The similarity of the two marks;

(3) The proximity of the products;

(4) Actual confusion;

(5) The likelihood of Legends are Forever bridging the gap;

(6) Nike's good faith in adopting the mark;

(7) The quality of Nike's products; and

(8) The sophistication of the consumers.

The Court determined that each factor weighed heavily in favor of Nike (and against confusion) and that none weighed in favor of Legends are Forever (and a likelihood of confusion). For the other trademark nerds out there that want to read the Court's opinion, press the link (Order Granting Summary Judgment).

For everyone else, press play below for Kobe highlights!

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