UA vs NIKE

Under Armour filed a complaint against NIKE Inc. claiming trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition under the Trademark Act of 1946 over their phrase “I Will” and is seeking equity from NIKE. Under Armour (UA) argues that NIKE was fully aware that they registered the phrase in 2000 and even as of 2012, they now own more registered trademarks that cover them for several more categories that NIKE has allegedly used their phrase on. Since then, UA has used the phrase for brand marketing campaigns on designs for several product lines from clothing to footwear and on their social media platforms. In a statement, Under Armour says, “The litigation has been resolved on a confidential and mutually agreeable basis.”

KEY ARGUMENTS UA USES:

UA claims that NIKE’s use of the phrase dilutes the distinctiveness of their mark, as a result, confusing consumers and creating unfair competition in the marketplace. The phrase has been trademarked by UA to cover an ample amount of categories such as billboards, gift cards, stadium signage, and apparel. The use of the phrase has been used extensively and on numerous occasions by UA and has served as a core marketing strategy for their business efforts. Companies such as UA and NIKE have similar business methods which is why trademark infringement is such a big deal in this case. UA’s earnings of $1.8 billion to NIKE’s $25 billion is more than enough reason for UA to fight so hard for their protected phrase to ensure that dilution of their trademark does not continue.

Nike denied the case against them stating, “The phrase ‘I Will’ alone and in combination with other words is and has been in common use by others, including in connection with athletic apparel and products, and accordingly, is at best a weak and diluted phrase.” They said they’ve been using campaigns to encourage athletes before Under Armour even existed and became competition. In NIKE’s 1995 campaign, “If you let me play sports…” used “I will” to describe accomplishments.

Judge Ellen L. Hollander in U.S. District Court in Baltimore dismisses the complaint against NIKE. Unfortunately, no terms have been disclosed.

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