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Nike Sues John Geiger over the GF-01, Claiming Trademark Infringement

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Nike filed a lawsuit against John Geiger’s John Geiger Co and La La Land Production and Design Inc claiming that Geiger’s GF-01 sneaker violates the Air Force 1’s trademark. Geiger responded to this with an Instagram post, stating that he has “been very clear throughout two years of manufacturing the GF-01 that its inspiration was Nike.” Also, he made sure that anyone who purchases the shoe is aware that it’s a designer shoe crafted using higher materials and quality along with my trademark changes and changes in the silhouette.”

Complex obtained a copy of Nike’s complaint. It states that John Geiger intentionally created confusion in the market by marketing and selling shoes under Nike’s registered Air Force 1 trade and capitalised on Nike’s fame and its reputation for iconic shoes.

Geiger is no stranger to Nike’s corporate machine. Geiger was the former manager of Darrelle Revis, an NFL All-Pro cornerback. He also helped design the Zoom Revis in 2012. Geiger also collaborated with The Shoe Surgeon to create a series Air Force 1 “Misplaced Checks” customs. These customs were AF1s with multiple Swooshes made from premium materials.

Geiger wrote the above-mentioned Instagram posting, mentioning his experience with Nike’s corporate machine. He said that Nike “has been benefiting off the hard work of myself and many creators within [sneaker] communities over the past 10 year.”

“Because everyone in the sneaker community has spoken for us, I have remained silent and not spoken publicly. But Nike now wants to make meritless claims against me and attack me as an entrepreneur.” Geiger has also promised transparency throughout the legal process.

La La Land was already in trouble with Nike last year when it was named as a defendant to the Nike vs Warren Lotas lawsuit. Although Lotas reached a settlement with Nike in December 2020. La La Land and Nike remain embroiled in a courtroom fight. “Nike’s strategy is to quell competition and intimidate legitimate business… that often lacks the resources to defend against such a well-resourced adversary,” La La Land filed a counterclaim against Nike.

“These actions are bullying and discourage creativity and legal competition.” You may also notice that Nike did not bring suit against BAPE in relation to the BAPESTA case, which is the most well-known Air Force 1 “homage”. However, Geiger’s GF-01 has a similar design to the Air Force 1, but it features a unique “JG” pattern on the outsole and insole, a thinner midsole, and a slightly different branding hit. Geiger planed to release the GF-01 on August 28, in an Air Force 1 “Linen”-inspired colorway.

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