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Why a Nike case could make retailers afraid to file trademark suits

Big retailers might have pause for thought should Nike lose the case in the US Supreme Court as a smaller shoemaker fights on to invalidate trademark.

Image: Nike

THE US SUPREME Court heard arguments today in a trademark dispute involving Nike’s Air Force 1 low-cut sneakers.

Nike sued smaller sneaker maker Already for allegedly infringing its trademark for those shoes, prompting Already to file a countersuit claiming the trademark wasn’t really valid anyway, according to SCOTUSblog.

Then Nike decided Already’s shoes weren’t much of a threat, so it dropped the case.

Already wanted to keep pursuing its crusade to void the trademark despite Nike’s promises not to sue it ever again.

A federal appeals court sided with Nike by finding Already had to drop the case, so the smaller shoe maker took the fight to the USA’s highest court.

If Nike loses in the Supreme Court, defendants in trademark cases could have new leverage because they could keep trying to invalidate trademarks even if the cases against them are dropped, Reuters’ On the Case blog has noted.

The blog notes that “trademark holders will have to think hard about using litigation to protect their marks, since they’d face increased risks.”

The case could have a major impact on luxury companies like Coach Inc. which have recognizable trademarks they often go to court to protect, according to Reuters.

- Erin Fuchs

Published with permission from:

Business Insider
Business Insider is a business site with strong financial, media and tech focus.

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