The Japanese fashion brand, A Bathing Ape (BAPE), is facing legal action (filed 01/25/23) from renowned shoe manufacturer, Nike, for allegedly replicating some of its iconic shoe designs. As per the lawsuit filed in New York, Nike alleges that BAPE has been reproducing their designs and that some of their shoes are near identical copies of Nike’s Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1, and Dunk sneakers.
BAPE, which was founded by designer Tomoaki Nagao and is owned by Hong Kong-based I.T. Ltd, began selling products in the United States in the mid-2000s. However, Nike claims that BAPE’s sales of these shoes in the US were minimal until 2021, when there was a significant surge in the sales of these allegedly infringing shoes.
Nike also accuses BAPE of refusing to cease the sale of these allegedly infringing shoes when requested. Furthermore, the lawsuit argues that BAPE’s designs will result in confusion among potential customers, as some resellers have been referring to the BAPE shoes as “Air Force 1s” or “Dunks.”
In light of this lawsuit, Nike is seeking a court order to prohibit BAPE from selling these shoes and is also seeking monetary damages. The case is Nike Inc v. USAPE LLC, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1:23-cv-00660 and can be viewed here.
Representatives of both companies have yet to make any official statements regarding this lawsuit.