Nike and John Geiger Resolve Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

Nike and designer John Geiger have resolved a trademark infringement lawsuit over Geiger's GF-01 shoes, which Nike said infringed on its Air Force 1 sneakers.

John Geiger GF-01 vs. Nike Air Force 1
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Image via US District Court

John Geiger GF-01 vs. Nike Air Force 1

One of Nike’s lawsuits over lookalike Air Force 1s is over—amicably.

The sportswear company and designer John Geiger issued a joint statement today announcing that Nike’s trade dress infringement lawsuit, filed in August 2021, has been resolved. 

“Nike and John Geiger have resolved the lawsuit related to Nike’s Air Force 1 trade dress and John Geiger’s footwear products, specifically his GF-01 shoes,” reads the joint statement. “The lawsuit has been resolved through amicable resolution that includes a consent judgement. As part of the resolution, John Geiger has agreed to modify the design of his GF-01 shoes. Nike respects John Geiger as a designer and other designers like him, and both parties are pleased to resolve this dispute in a way that allows John Geiger to continue to build his brand while also respecting Nike’s intellectual property rights in its iconic Air Force 1 trade dress.”

The lawsuit stemmed from Geiger’s GF-01 design, which the Swoosh at the time said “knowingly and intentionally creates confusion in the marketplace and capitalizes on Nike’s reputation and the reputation” of the Air Force 1. Meanwhile, Geiger’s defense maintained that he changed enough elements on the GF-01 to differentiate it and that Nike’s trade dress protections were too vague. 

Nike’s August 2021 filing against Geiger was an amendment to an existing lawsuit against Los Angeles-based La La Land Production & Design Inc., named as the manufacturer of the Geiger GF-01 in the amendment (Geiger disputed this, saying the company only produced a prototype). No stranger to controversy, La La Land Production & Design Inc. also produced Warren Lotas’ bootleg “Dunk” shoes, the subject of a 2020 Nike trademark infringement lawsuit which was eventually settled in December of that year.

Geiger was quick to challenge Nike’s amendment, asking the central district of California court to dismiss the complaint in November 2021. “If it doesn’t get dismissed we are prepared for a yearlong process and [to] fight it in court,” he told Complex in a statement. 

In February, Geiger countersued, essentially arguing that Nike had diluted its own trade dress protections through modified versions of the Air Force 1 such as Travis Scott’s collaboration and a Serena Williams-inspired pair. His defense also argued that details such as the slope of the GF-01’s toe box and the height of the midsole, along with its higher price point and stockist availability, were enough to separate it from the Air Force 1. 

Beyond Geiger agreeing to modify the design of the GF-01 sneakers going forward, terms of the resolution were not made public.