Designer John Geiger strikes back at Nike for his Air Force 1-like sneaker


The dispute between Nike and John Geiger over the designer’s lookalike Air Force 1 sneaker has escalated. After a California judge refused to dismiss the trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition allegations that Nike brought against Geiger, the designer’s attorneys thwarted Nike’s lawsuit with their own allegations.

According to a court document filed on February 22, first seen by Complex, Geiger’s attorneys seek to “invalidate and rescind” what they claim are unenforceable marks. The designer and his team argued throughout the lawsuit that his GF-01 sneaker bears little resemblance to Nike’s Air Force 1 sneaker, pointing to the shoe’s original sole, new materials and separate logos.

Recognition vs Replica — Geiger’s countersuit now responds to every statement made in Nike’s original lawsuit, which also added the designer to an existing lawsuit against La La Land Production & Design Inc, a supplier to Geiger and the former Nike defendant. , Warren Lotas. According to Geiger, La La Land Production “simply created a GF-01 prototype based on the design provided by Geiger” and is not involved in manufacturing – leaving the designer to take full responsibility for their sneakers.

United States District Court, Nike v John Geiger Co

Much of Geiger’s defense follows his earlier claim that the Air Force 1’s commercial attire, including outseams, panels, eyelets and ridged pattern outsole, is not the same than that of his GF-01. Its countersuit cites recent Air Force 1 modifications, including Travis Scott’s 2019 Cactus Jack collaboration and a Serena Williams-inspired iteration, as examples of Nike deviating from its own commercial attire – making the pads brand business attire too vague, according to Geiger’s team. .

Getting down to the specifics, the designer’s counter suit features a side-by-side breakdown of the Air Force 1 and GF-01 sneakers. The slope of the toe box, the height of the midsole, the curvature of the heel and the pattern of the outsole all differ between the shoes, as seen in the breakdown – and most notably, Geiger’s shoe has no by Nike Swoosh. According to the comparison, the designer’s GF-01 is also made from higher quality materials: “In addition, the GF-01 is constructed with premium leather and, on some models, the branded ‘G’ in chenille fuzzy which is more luxurious than the materials. Nike uses on the Air Force 1,” the (rather mean-spirited) countersuit reads.

United States District Court, Nike v John Geiger Co

“Unreasonable” confusion — These design differences, along with the GF-01’s higher price and dealer exclusivity, make it unreasonable for customers to confuse the GF-01 and the AF1, Geiger claims. For good measure, the designer also mentioned other Air Force 1-style models — including BAPE’s Bapesta sneaker — that Nike hasn’t taken legal action against.

As part of the counterclaim, Geiger is asking that Nike’s Air Force 1 trade dress registration be declared invalid and unenforceable by law; an argument that other designers could use against the Swoosh in its fight against customizers. Geiger is also seeking restitution for the case, which began last August, as well as reimbursement for attorney’s fees.

“Our shoes speak for themselves… Sneakerheads are sophisticated consumers who know [Geiger’s design] and will never be confused between the two,” reads a statement from the Geiger brand to Complex. “Nike is Nike and JG is JG.”


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