Nike Files Lawsuit Against John Geiger Over the GF-01, Claiming Trademark Infringement

Geiger’s high-end homage silhouette has drawn the ire of the Swoosh.

Footwear
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Nike has filed a lawsuit against John Geiger‘s John Geiger Co and La La Land Production and Design Inc, claiming that Geiger’s GF-01 sneaker infringes on the Air Force 1‘s trade dress. In response, Geiger stated in an Instagram post that he’s “been very clear through two years of manufacturing and selling the GF-01 that it was inspired by Nike, and also made sure that anyone purchasing the shoe is aware that it is a designer shoe crafted with higher materials and quality, along with my trademark and changes to the silhouette.”

A copy of Nike’s complaint obtained by Complex states “By marketing and selling shoes using Nike’s registered Air Force 1 trade dress, John Geiger knowingly and intentionally creates confusion in the marketplace and capitalizes on Nike’s reputation and the reputation of its iconic shoes.”

Geiger himself is no stranger to the Nike corporate machine. As the former manager to NFL All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, Geiger had a hand in the design of the Zoom Revis in 2012 and also worked with The Shoe Surgeon on a series of Air Force 1 “Misplaced Checks” customs — AF1s adorned with multiple Swooshes in premium materials — before founding his own brand. In his above-mentioned Instagram post, Geiger also mentioned his time around Nike’s corporate machine, saying “I feel like Nike has been benefitting off the hard work from myself and a lot of creators within the [sneaker] community over the past 10 years. I’ve remained quiet and never spoken publically because everyone within the sneaker community has spoken for me but now Nike wants to use meritless claims and attack me as an entrepreneur.” Geiger also has promised transparency through the legal process.

La La Land was in hot water with Nike as recently as last year, as it was also named as a defendant in the highly-publicized Nike vs Warren Lotas lawsuit. Though Lotas settled with Nike in December 2020, La La Land and Nike are still entangled in a courtroom battle. The production outfit recently filed a counterclaim against Nike, stating “Nike’s strategy aims to quash competition and intimidate legitimate businesses … that often lack the resources to defend themselves against such a well-resourced opponent. There is a bullying nature to these actions that chills creativity and lawful competition.”

From a design standpoint, Geiger’s GF-01 features an overall shape that’s similar to the Air Force 1, but there are notable material and embellishment differences — namely a custom “JG” pattern on the outsole and insole, a slightly thinner midsole, differently branded hits and more luxurious materials like premium tumbled leather, chenille and even multi-colored tweed fabric. Others may note that Nike never brought suit against BAPE for the BAPESTA, the most famous Air Force 1 “homage” of all time.

Even with the lawsuit set to head to trial in the Central District of California, Geiger remains unfazed: he’s set to release the GF-01 in an Air Force 1 “Linen”-inspired colorway today, August 28.

See a side-by-side of similar GF-01 and Air Force 1 colorways plus Geiger’s statement above, and for more footwear news, be sure to check out the Air Jordan 1’s new “Marina Blue” colorway.

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