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Nike notches win in fight to register US 'SNKRS' trade marks

Taken from | Author: Blake Brittain | Date: 31 July 2023

Nike (NKE.N) convinced a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office tribunal to revive the shoe giant's bid for federal trade mark rights in "SNKRS," the name of its popular smartphone app for sneaker sales.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on Friday overturned a trade mark examiner's determination that "SNKRS" was a generic term for sneakers that could not receive trade mark protection.

Nike's trade marks will now be published in the USPTO's Trademark Gazette, where other parties will have 30 days to challenge them before they are registered.

A representative for the USPTO declined to comment on the decision on Monday. Representatives for Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nike's SNKRS platform, which sells new and limited-edition Nike shoes and apparel, has received more than 1 billion visits since 2015, the company said. It applied in 2020 to register federal trade marks in the name for services including an "online marketplace featuring footwear and clothing."

The USPTO rejected Nike's bids to register the trade marks in 2021. A federal trade mark examiner said "SNKRS" was generic in those categories because it was the phonetic equivalent of the word "sneakers."

The board determined on Friday that "SNKRS" was descriptive, not generic, and could be trade mark-protected if it had become distinctive as a Nike brand.

The board said SNKRS was a distinctive name among sneaker buyers. It said Nike has used the mark in a "substantially exclusive" way since 2015 and received more than 10 million SNKRS orders in North America since 2019.

It also said that Nike has advertised SNKRS extensively and that a significant amount of unsolicited media coverage has recognized SNKRS as a Nike brand.

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