The Jumpman logo. It's easily one of the world's most recognizable and profitable marks synonymous with the Apple logo, McDonald's golden arches, and Nike's own "Swoosh."

With Nike celebrating 30 years of the Air Jordan, an unexpected lawsuit has landed on its desk. A photographer by the name of Jacobus Rentmeester has filed a lawsuit against the Swoosh claiming it's been unlawfully using his photograph for years along with the iconic "Jumpman" logo. Rentmeester, who shot the image above in 1984 for a Life magazine special, states Nike has violated his image's copyright.

The lawsuit mentions Nike paying Rentmeester $150, an invoice that was made out to former Nike Creative Director and Air Jordan designer Peter Moore, in August 1984 for temporary use of two 35mm transparencies of his Jordan images which Nike later returned. In February 1985, Nike is claimed to have created its own version Rentmeester's image and upon being threatened with litigation, Nike agreed to pay Rentmeester $15,000 for a two-year limited license of the soaring Jordan image.

The suit also makes the claim that Nike further violated the agreement with the design and creation of the Jumpman logo in 1987.

Rentmeester's contention is he is "the continuous and exclusive owner of the copyright" of the 1984 photo. On December 18, 2014, Rentmeester registered the image with United States Copyright Office.

While Rentmeester has every right protect his work and seek whatever damages, it'd be interesting to know why he waited so long to beef with Nike again. Rentmeester was already an accomplished photographer who seemed to have a good grasp of copyright laws and his rights during his initial dealings with Nike. Maybe he's been plotting this all along. Waiting patiently for Nike to build an an empire on his image before taking them to court and hopefully cashing in. Whatever the reason, the timing is curious, and the suit will be of interest to plenty of people, especially sneakerheads, photographers, and Jordan fans. 

Rentmeester's Life magazine image:

Nike's version:

[via Oregon Live]