For the past few months, Nike has been involved in a legal battle with notorious bootlegger Warren Lotas, whom the Swoosh accused of profiting off of its trademarked Nike Dunk design. Nike filed an injunction against Lotas, requiring him to cease selling his knockoff dunks and to pay Nike for the damages the copyright infringement caused.
While his designs were very clearly bootleg Dunks, Lotas has attempted to paint the lawsuit as a big corporation stifling the creativity of an independent brand. New paperwork filed by Lotas in the Central Distict of California reveal that it wasn’t just Lotas’ “creativity” that was being stifled, but also a sizable chunk of revenue.
According to the court filings, Warren Lotas was set to make over $10 million with his rip-off Dunks. Lotas asked the courts to reconsider the injunction, and to allow his brand to move forward with replacing preorders for its Dunk rip-offs with another lookalike sneaker, which Lotas claims shares much fewer similarities with the trademarked Nike shoe.
The paperwork shows that Lotas processed a total of around 36,000 refunds for the original Dunk knock-off and pre-orders for the replacement Reaper sneaker. With each pair retailing for $300, simple maths put the revenue at roughly $10,800,000.
While the original “Pigeon” lookalikes are legally barred from being sold, Lotas hopes to retain the ability to at least fulfill the Reaper replacements, noting that the brand stands to lose $2,100,000 in revenue if it is unable to sell them. In the court filings, Lotas points out that unlike his reinterpretation of the “Pigeon” Dunks, the Reaper does not use trademarks to capture consumer attention, so Nike’s claim of initial interest confusion does not apply.
“The Reaper is a radically different sneaker… It contains no Swoosh, no panels or stitching that mimic the Dunk trade dress, and has a differently-designed outsole that features the skull and scythe of the grim reaper. Nike’s effort to convert the Court’s injunction against the accused sneakers into an injunction against an entirely new shoe— where there has been no showing anyone is confused — is inappropriate and warrants an order from the court.”
Keep it here for more updates on the case and check out our rundown of the entire lawsuit here.