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Nike Learns When PO Doesn’t Stand for Post Office

Nike Learns When PO Doesn't Stand for Post Office

The US Postal Service is “PO’ed” at Nike over its new sneaker design that features what looks like a USPS label on the heel. On March 5, Sneaker Files wrote about “USPS-Inspired” Nike Air Force 1 Experimental sneakers that the company was about to release. But the USPS says it did not license its brand to Nike.

Sneaker News rubbed salt in the wound, writing, “Ironically, This USPS-Themed Nike Air Force 1 Will Be Shipped With UPS.”

A month later, on April 1, the USPS issued the following statement:

“The Nike Air Force 1 USPS” Experimental shoe is neither licensed nor otherwise authorized by the U.S. Postal Service

The Postal Service, which receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations, protects its intellectual property. Officially licensed products sold in the marketplace expand the affinity for the Postal Service brand and provide incremental revenue through royalties that directly support it. Sales of unauthorized and unlicensed products deny support to the hardworking women and men of the Postal Service.

This is an unfortunate situation where a large brand such as Nike, which aggressively protects its own intellectual property, has chosen to leverage another brand for its own gain. The Postal Service is disappointed in Nike’s lack of response to repeated attempts to come to a solution. The Postal Service will take whatever actions it deems necessary to protect its valuable IP rights.”

When the Postal Service says Nike “aggressively protects its own intellectual property,” it’s not joking (as some sellers may attest). The most recent incident came this week when Nike made headlines when it sued an art collective over modified Nike sneakers it sold.

The company told CBS the shoes were produced “without Nike’s approval or authorization.”

Not surprisingly, people are weighing in on Twitter.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

2 thoughts on “Nike Learns When PO Doesn’t Stand for Post Office”

  1. Domestic priority mail is taking over 40 days to even move, much less be delivered, insurance claims are being ignored, yet USPS finds the time in their supposedly overwhelming and understaffed schedule to worry about intellectual property? USPS, do the job you’re being paid to do! If you get that done and have time to spare, then by all means do this kind of thing. You are nowhere near caught up on your actual duties to the American people!

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