Nike Sue BAPE Over Copied Sneaker Designs

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

26 Jan 2023

Nike has officially moved to sue BAPE over trademark infringement pertaining to several of the brand’s most iconic sneaker designs.

Nike want to take the streetwear brand to task over the Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1, and Dunk silhouettes, claiming BAPE’s footwear business “revolves around copying Nike’s iconic designs,” and that some of its shoes are “near verbatim” copies.

A Bathing Ape more commonly known as BAPE, was founded by designer Tomoaki Nagao in 1993. The company is now owned by Hong Kong-based I.T. Ltd.

According to the lawsuit, BAPE began selling products in the United States in the mid-2000s, including the infamous BAPESTA — an alleged equivalent of the Air Force 1.

Nike said BAPE’s U.S. sales of the shoes were “sporadic” until 2021 when it “drastically increased the volume and scope of its infringement.”

“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 lawsuit said.

Nike asked the court to order BAPE to stop selling the shoes and requested an unspecified amount of money damages.