These sneaker designers are speaking out now that Nike has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against them and the manufacturer of their footwear.
“Woke up this morning to a lawsuit from the mega giant corporation that I supported my whole life,” said Kool Kiy, the CEO and head designer of Kiy Studios, in a post shared on Instagram. “The fact that they suing a young Black man who started out exactly how they did is kinda crazy to me. Ironic how they tell us to ‘Just Do It.’ Kiy ready tho.”
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According to Complex, in a suit filed on Wednesday (Nov. 30), the retailer alleges that defendants Nickwon Arvinger and David Weeks of By Kiy LLC, as well as Bill Omar Carrasquillo of Reloaded Merch LLC were “promoting, copying, and selling” Nike’s designs that they say are close in similarity to the Air Jordan 1s and Dunks.
At one point in the documents, Nike also alleges that China-based manufacturer Xiamen Wandering Planet Import and Export Co., Ltd. also known as Wandering Planet, played a role in helping the designers create the footwear.
“By supplying Kiy and Omi with knockoff sneakers using Nike’s registered Air Jordan 1 and Dunk trade dress, Wandering Planet knowingly participated in a scheme to intentionally create confusion in the marketplace and capitalize on it,” read the suit.
Not only is trademark infringement defined in the argument, but Nike alleges that the designs produced by Kiy and Omi are grounds for “counts of false designation of origin, unfair competition, and trademark dilution.”
Carrasquillo also posted a message to Instagram in response to the claims, noting that he believed that the Omi brand was “in the clear” with its designs and that the Omi Air Jordan 1-inspired model was different enough from the real thing. On the flip side, he did admit that not enough changes were made to the Dunk-inspired shoe that would make it different from the original.
“Everyone’s doing it, so I just thought, ‘It ain’t nothing,’ which was stupid on my part,” Carrasquillo told Complex.
At this time, Complex reports that Nike is requesting that the court also blocks any further production and advertisement of the sneakers. Requests also include that “any and all product, packaging, and promotional materials be sent to Nike for destruction.”
Additionally, the company is also seeking compensation for all damages and other expenses.
The exact amount has not been disclosed.