A classic loss for Nike

converse-classic jazz star 2Nike – the company that owns the plant making the iconic “Converse All Star” basketball shoes – has failed to stop a Penang-based company from using the “Classic Jazz Star” brand for its high-cut basketball shoes.

It was ruled that although there is some visual similarity between the two star devices in the competing marks, they are “aurally and conceptually different”.

Southern Rubber Works has a pending trademark application for “Classic Jazz Star” in countries such as China, Indonesia and Vietnam. Nike claimed that consumers have come to associate marks with a star in a circle, and words inside the circle, with goods by Converse.

We understand Nike’s problem with the Jazz Star logo. It seems to be heavily inspired by the well-known Converse logo. Choosing ‘Classic’ (also starting with a ‘c’) and ‘Jazz Star’ instead of ‘All Star’, together with a star logo in a circle, is not a coincidence, we believe.

But often David prevails over Goliath, also in this case. The “dissimilarity in the words of the two competing marks outweighs the visual similarity in the layout” a Singapore court stated.

The annual sale of goods sold in Singapore under the “Classic Jazz Star” brand is understood to be negligible, so this is probably a legal blow only for Nike. But a loss is a loss.

Source: The Straits Times

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Erwin Hauër

“Hope is not a strategy.”



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