Hi-tech High Tops: Nike Seeks to Trademark “Footware”

April 29, 2019

1 min read

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What's going on here?

Sportswear company Nike has filed to register an intent-to-use trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to register the term “footware”. The word is a play on “footwear” and “software” and will be used to describe any future Nike products featuring a technological element.

What does this mean?

Nike is known for its strong branding and elaborate ad campaigns.  The move is a branding push to expand its range of “smart” sneakers. Nike intends “footware” to be used in relation to sneakers with computer hardware modules for “receiving, processing and transmitting data” through electronic devices. “Footware” will therefore be advertised to brand all products with a technological component, resulting in customers identifying “footware” with Nike’s smart footwear range.

The application for protection is currently pending review by the USPTO.

What's the big picture effect?

If approved by the USPTO, Nike could use “footware” with the ® symbol as a registered trademark instead of with the symbol that is used to identify a common law or unregistered trademark. This grants Nike a greater degree of protection. With a registered trademark, Nike can enforce its intellectual property (IP) rights against any company in the United States which attempts to advertise technologically aided sneakers as “footware”. A common law trademark, would allow Nike to enforce its IP rights only in the jurisdiction or location where “footware” is used to advertise its own products.

On a wider business note, critics have asked whether customers actually want “smart” shoes. Market statistics show a preference toward stylish athleisure sneakers over high-tech computerised shoes. So Nike’s investment into this trademark may only be fruitful in the far future.

Report written by Evania D

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