It’s been a headline-filled couple of weeks for Nike. Last week, the company obtained a restraining order against American musical artist Lil Nas X in order to block all sales of his “Satan” shoes, which used modified Nike Air Max 97’s for the collaboration. Now, due to the strong resemblance between Nike’s upcoming “USPS” Air Force 1 shoe and a Priority Mail shipping box, the US Postal Service may take legal action against the shoe giant.
Nike Unveiled the USPS Air Force 1 Shoes, but Failed to License IP from Postal Service
As seen in the above photo, Nike’s USPS Air Force 1 shoes obviously borrow design elements from the USPS branded boxes. For example, the shoe features the Postal Service’s signature color scheme of red, white, and blue. The shoe even comes with a miniature shipping label attached to the heel. However, while the resemblance is obvious, the shoe doesn’t contain any official USPS logos.
The Postal Service’s Statement
In response to the Nike “USPS” Air Force 1 shoe unveiling, USPS provided the following statement:
“The Postal Service, which receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations, protects its intellectual property. Officially licensed products sold in the marketplace expand the affinity for the Postal Service brand and provide incremental revenue through royalties that directly support it. Sales of unauthorized and unlicensed products deny support to the hardworking women and men of the Postal Service.
This is an unfortunate situation where a large brand such as Nike, which aggressively protects its own intellectual property, has chosen to leverage another brand for its own gain. The Postal Service is disappointed in Nike’s lack of response to repeated attempts to come to a solution. The Postal Service will take whatever actions it deems necessary to protect its valuable IP rights.”
If USPS takes legal action against Nike and wins, the organization may be eligible to receive royalties from the sale of the shoes.