Activewear brand LNDR wins trademark case against Nike

Premium activewear brand, LNDR yesterday won its trademark dispute against global sportswear giant, Nike, over its use of “LDNR” in its recent advertising campaign.

 The judgement from the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court means that Nike cannot use the term “LDNR” again. It had been doing so in its “Nothing beats a Londoner” campaign, which the judgement found to be an infringement of LNDR’s trademarks.

LNDR successfully argued that its brand name was distinctive as a trade mark, and that consumers would be confused into thinking Nike were collaborating with LNDR.
Nike had conducted a trademark search six months before launching and knew about LNDR’s trademarks, but went ahead with using ‘LDNR’ regardless. In some cases, actually using the registered trademark symbol next to their ‘LDNR’ Nike logo.

 When the campaign launched in January 2018 the term was used prominently on social media, in live events, merchandising giveaways and in-store displays. The TV advert for the campaign included the likes of Sir Mo Farah, Harry Kane and Skepta (seen wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with ‘LDNR’).

Joanna Turner, founder of East London based LNDR, said: “Nike’s campaign gained a huge amount of exposure very quickly. From our point of view, it was educating the public that ‘LDNR’ was either a Nike trademark, or that there was a collaboration between our two brands. We felt that we had no choice, but to protect our brand and identity, and the trademarks that support them, which are critical to our continued growth.

“We work very hard to create the best premium, high-quality products in the market, and confusion of our products or brand with Nike would be extremely damaging.

“It was not an easy decision to go up against a giant like Nike, and it is not a situation you imagine you will ever have to take on. We are both pleased and relieved that the judge saw things the same way as we did.

“We are delighted that we can now focus on continuing to build our brand and grow our business, in the UK as well as around the world.”

Leading law firm, Osborne Clarke, acted for LNDR, successfully moving from the initial claim to a judgement in just six months. The case started at the end of January this year, when Nike first launched the “Nothing beats a Londoner” campaign.

LNDR quickly obtained an interim injunction in March preventing Nike from using the LDNR term until the trial. This has now been followed by the recent judgement awarding a permanent injunction preventing Nike from using the term LDNR in future.

Osborne Clarke’s Head of IP Disputes in the UK, Arty Rajendra, said: “Typically, these cases would take 12-18 months. We are absolutely delighted with the result. We love the LNDR brand and admire the success its founders have achieved so far. It was a brave decision to sue a company as big as Nike. However, LNDR has a growing reputation and as a premium brand it could not sit by and let Nike damage it.”

Nike have not yet indicated whether they intend to apply for permission to appeal.

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