Nike Is Suing Bape Over Alleged Copycat Sneakers

Nike is accusing footwear brand Bape of copying some of its sneaker designs in a new trademark infringement lawsuit filed Wednesday in a New York District Court.

In the complaint, Nike called out five specific specific designs — the BAPE STA, BAPE STA Mid, SK8 STA, COURT STA High, and COURT STA — and said they “are near verbatim copies” of Nike’s Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1 and Dunk silhouettes.

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“Bape’s current footwear business revolves around copying Nike’s iconic designs,” read the complaint.

Nike said that while Bape introduced its first infringing footwear to the U.S. in 2005, it became a real threat to Nike after 2021, when the brand increased the “scope of its infringement.” Nike also noted that both brands sell in similar channels to the same consumers.

“Bape’s copying is and always has been unacceptable to Nike, and because Bape’s infringements have recently grown to become a significant danger to Nike’s rights, Nike must act now,” the complaint read.

FN has reached out to Nike and Bape for a comment.

Bape was founded in Japan by Tomoaki Nagao and began selling products in the U.S. in the the mid-2000s, according to the suit.

Nike is requesting a court order to halt Bape’s selling of the accused designs and for an unspecified dollar amount in damages.

This lawsuit is the latest legal action Nike has taken to protect its trademarks. In December, Nike filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Nickwon Arvinger and David Weeks of By Kiy LLC (known as “Kiy”), as well as Bill Omar Carrasquillo (known as “Omi”) of Reloaded Merch LLC, accusing them of knocking off its Air Jordan 1 and Dunk sneaker styles.

Last August, footwear designer John Geiger and Nike resolved their trademark infringement battle. That same month, Nike and Adidas settled a series of U.S. patent disputes over sneaker technology.

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