Nike sued over Michael Jordan image

Michael Jordan

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New York-based Jacobus Rentmeester filed a complaint against Nike seeking damages, profits generated from the image’s use and an injunction preventing further alleged infringement.

The complaint, filed on Thursday (January 22) at the US District Court for the District of Oregon, claimed that Rentmeester staged and shot a photograph for US magazine Life as part of a special edition for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Later that year, Nike paid Rentmeester $15,000 for a limited licence to use the image—which shows former Basketball star Michael Jordan leaping through the air—for two years.

But in his complaint, Rentmeester claimed that Nike continued to reproduce the photo after that two-year period elapsed and used it to create its ‘Jumpman’ logo, a silhouette of the leaping Jordan allegedly inspired by the photograph.

The company went on to create the Jordan Brand division, which markets Michael Jordan products, using the logo, the complaint said.

In the complaint, Rentmeester said the allegedly infringing logo has been displayed in shops around the world.

“For instance, retail sports apparel stores throughout the world commonly reproduce and display infringing works, including in-store signage that increase customer traffic and drive purchasing decisions.

“Sports apparel and other companies also feature infringing works on their websites for similar commercial purposes,” the complaint said.

Nike did not respond to a request to comment.

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