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Nike loses to Puma in EU trademark dispute

Nike loses to Puma in EU trademark dispute

Written by Anis Morena

BRUSSELS (Dow Jones) – American sportswear maker Nike has suffered a setback in its efforts to trademark the capitalized version of the word “shoes” for technology-related products. The European Union Court rejected Nike's trademark application and upheld the lawsuit filed by its German competitor Puma. It also ordered the world's largest shoe manufacturer to pay Puma's legal costs.

Nike can appeal the decision to the highest court in the European Union, the European Court of Justice. The American group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Puma spokeswoman said the company welcomes the ruling because Puma has long argued that at least some consumers misunderstand the term FOOTWARE to mean “shoes” and “will therefore view the label 'shoes' as descriptive information only,” a category of products. , which cannot be a trademark.

Nike wanted to use the term FOOTWARE, a play on words between “foot” and “software” or “hardware,” for a range of technology-related products.

The court's decision comes after a series of legal battles with rival sportswear makers after Nike registered the trademark for the term in the US, UK and Europe in 2019.

In mid-2021, Nike won against Puma after the British Supreme Court approved the trademark despite Puma's complaint. Puma argued that the name would be perceived by the public as a misspelling of the word “shoes” and not a product name itself.

Earlier this year, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board blocked Nike's attempt to register a trademark for FOOTWARE shoes in the United States. The decision came after a complaint from American sneaker manufacturer San Antonio Shoemakers, which said the term was only descriptive because the words “shoes” and “shoes” are often used interchangeably to refer to shoes.

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(End) Dow Jones News Agency

June 12, 2024, 11:42 ET (15:42 GMT)