NIKE is Suing Japanese Streetwear Brand BAPE For Allegedly Ripping Off Their Renowned Designs

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The world of streetwear is heating up ladies, gentleman and non-binaries! Two renowned players in the sneaker game are duking it out in court over claims of plagiarism.

As stated in the title, sneaker giants Nike are taking legal action against Japanese streetwear brand Bathing Ape (BAPE) for allegedly infringing on copyright by plagiarising some of their most famous shoe designs.

NIKE Inc. filed a lawsuit at the Manhattan Federal Court this past Wednesday (25 Jan). Pictured above is a chart displaying the similarities of several BAPE and Nike sneaker silhouettes in a side-by-side comparison.

Each of the BAPE sneakers pictured were the ones cited for copyright infringement. Coincidentally, these models also happen to be the company’s best-selling sneakers.

According to the Malay Mail, Nike claims that BAPE’s sneakers are ‘near verbatim’ copies of the Nike Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1 in addition to the Nike Dunks.

source: Giphy

As a sneaker enthusiast myself, this isn’t really the first time that this issue was brought to my attention. In all honesty, most of the sneakerhead community know exactly what those BAPE sneakers look like.

It’s like an open secret that’s just accepted and those sneakers are held in very high regard as they’re way harder to come by than a fresh pair of Nikes, at least in my experience.

But that’s just me as a consumer. We all know Nike, the company, isn’t having any of that. In the aforementioned lawsuit, The Swoosh had this to say:

source: YouTube

“BAPE’s copying is and always has been unacceptable to Nike, and because BAPE’s infringement has recently grown to become a significant danger to Nike’s rights, Nike must act now.

“Nike notified BAPE of its infringement and asked it to stop. BAPE refused to do so. Instead, BAPE continues to escalate its infringing activity. Nike therefore, is forced to bring this lawsuit to stop BAPE’s unauthorised use of Nike’s trademark,”

As of right now, the case is filed as Nike Inc V. USAPE LLC, US District Court of the Southern District of New York, No. 1:23-cv-00660 but neither parties have made any comments regarding it.

source: Inc. Magazine

Imma leave this one to the court and various lawyers to figure out how this case will unravel, but know that JUICE has got love for both Nike and Bathing Ape.

Matter of fact, yall should just hug it out and do a collab. I swear to you that the entire sneakerhead and streetwear communities will collectively lose their minds, should that day ever come.

Do you think BAPE is guilty of plagiarism?