Fleet Feet Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Nike Inc. over Nike’s use of phrases such as “Change Everything” and “Running Changes Everything” in advertising.
According to the Triangle Business Journal, Fleet Feet charges that it has trademarked the two phrases and spent substantial resources making those slogans the “cornerstones for its brand.”
“Yet despite that knowledge, Nike in July 2019 launched a national advertising campaign based on the marks SPORT CHANGES EVERYTHING and RUNNING CHANGES EVERYTHING. The first of these Nike marks bears a confusing resemblance to Fleet Feet’s marks, and the second is identical to Fleet Feet’s mark,” wrote Fleet Feet in court papers.
The July campaign used the “Sports Changes Everything” and was tied to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
The complaint said Nike brand managers have “historically” previewed advertising campaigns with Fleet Feet, but Nike provide no advance notice with the MLB campaign.
The suit also claims that Scott Gravatt, Nike’s Running specialty sales director for North America, sent a note July 22 stating, “Kudos to you guys for using ‘Running Changes Everything.’”
“He then referenced Nike’s new SPORT CHANGES EVERYTHING campaign and remarked that Fleet Feet was ‘ahead of the curve.’
The suit also charges that in August, Nike’s website featured “Running Changes Everything” phrase. When Fleet Feet complained, Nike swapped “running” with “sport,” the suit added.
When Fleet Feet further complained, Nike executives allegedly said they intends to use the SPORT CHANGES EVERYTHING campaign through the 2020 Super Bowl, and “that Nike is a big company and will, if necessary, spend millions to defend its continuation of the campaign.”
Fleet Feet is seeking to stop the alleged infringement and recover damages “to compensate Fleet Feet for the injuries and damages it has suffered as a result of Nike’s willfully wrongful conduct.”
Nike said it does not comment on pending litigation.