Nike sneaker counterfeit lawsuit and evidence in unsealed documents


When Nike filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Illinois in January accusing more than 200 online stores of selling counterfeit Nike products, it hid the defendants’ names from public view. The brand’s lawyers argued that alerting the alleged counterfeit peddlers named in the complaint would allow them to destroy evidence of their illicit activity and transfer their assets to offshore accounts. This week the court unsealed that list of names and other previously sealed documents in the case, including an exhibit comprising 751 pages that show exactly what the defendants are accused of selling.

The documents were unsealed as Nike obtained a preliminary injunction against the defendants. The injunction is virtually identical to a temporary restraining order Nike obtained in the case in February, which barred the defendants from selling Nike gear and compelled the marketplaces where they operate – AliExpress, Amazon and eBay – to disclose. their account information and to freeze their assets. . Prior to their unsealing, Complex reported on the temporary restraining order and the list of defendants.

An unauthorized Off-White x Air Jordan 1 keychain is among the items featured in the exhibit. Image via United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Defendants are identified by store aliases (Xing Qi Store, Surpass Store, CYYTL Official Store, etc.) and URLs rather than actual names. Nike added new defendants to the case this week. Lawyers for the brand previously said the defendants were all based in China or Hong Kong.

The exhibit showing the alleged lists of defendants consists of screenshots of online stores selling a wide variety of Nike-branded products. Some of the screenshots are of online stores selling Nike Air Force 1 based shoes that make small changes to the designs and their Nike logos. One page features an Air Force 1 clearly based on K-pop artist G Dragon’s Nike collaboration from 2020. There are also many other pairs that are not closely inspired by existing versions of the Air Force 1 , some of them with LED lights integrated into their soles.

Other screenshots from the exhibit feature trinkets like lanyards, a neon sign resembling an Air Jordan 1, AirPods cases, a Nike LeBron logo necklace, and an Off-White x Air keychain. Jordan 1 all using unauthorized Nike brands.

“Defendants and their e-commerce stores do not do business with Nike,” a trademark attorney wrote when submitting the exhibit to the court, “and have no right or authority to use Nike brands for any reason”.

Complex has downloaded all three parts of the exhibit for viewing here, here, and here.

Neither Nike nor the Illinois law firm representing the brand responded to a request for comment. Complex contacted the original 207 defendants this week, four of whom responded. Their answers suggested they didn’t fully understand our questions due to a language barrier, but two of them said they had never sold anything related to Nike in their online stores.

“I have never sold anything from Nike in my Amazon store,” wrote one of the defendants.


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