Kool Kiy Ordered To Pay Nike $1M USD in Trademark Infringement Case

The conclusion of a nearly two-year-long legal battle.

Footwear
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Kool Ky and Nike‘s nearly two-year-long trademark infringement battle has come to a close, with a judge ordering Kool Ky to pay Nike $1M USD in damages. The suit, filed in the Southern District of New York back in November 2022, argued that By Ky LLC (the “parent company” of Kool Ky, founded by Nickwon Arvinger) was infringing on Nike’s trade dress registrations with his Air Jordan 1 and Dunk-influenced designs.

“The iconic designs represent the originality, authenticity, and creativity that is entwined in the DNA of sneaker culture,” Nike’s attorneys wrote at the time. “That is why Nike must protect its designs and intellectual property from bad actors who undermine the very DNA of authentic sneaker culture by promoting, copying, and selling Nike’s designs as their own.”

Kool Ky’s attorneys, for their part, argued that no “reasonable” consumer would confuse the two brands’ products, noting altered details like a lightning bolt instead of a Swoosh, different collar branding and separate sales channels from Nike sneakers. “There is no conceivable way that any reasonable consumer would think he or she is buying a Nike product when the consumer buys a By Kiy product, whether in the primary or secondary sales markets,” their statement read. However, Nike’s legal concerns seemed to be more centered around the shape of their shoes — silhouette-wise, Kool Ky’s designs are almost a 1:1 replica of the aforementioned models, as can be seen in the Air Jordan 1 “Bred”-influenced pair displayed above — than their trademarked logos.

This isn’t the only trade dress protection victory Nike has scored in recent months either, as in March they won an $8M USD judgement against Bill Omar Carrasquillo of Reloaded Merch LLC (better known as Omi or “Omi in a Hellcat“), who was also named as a co-defendant in the initial suit. Complex‘s Victor Deng notes that Kool Ky is still advertising the models that Nike took the brand to court over, meaning that the settlement agreement may allow Kool Ky to sell off its remaining stock to raise funds for the settlement.

As for the Swoosh, they’re plugging right along with the Air Jordan 1, with two new Travis Scott collaborations and an Air Jordan 1 High OG in black and white patent leather reportedly dropping in the spring of 2025.

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