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.