East London based activewear brand LNDR has won a David Vs Goliath legal battle with global giant Nike to prevent it from using LDNR in its “Nothing Beats a Londoner” campaign, which was conceived by advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy.
The judgment was served by the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court in London this week as LNDR argued successfully that customers would confuse LDNR with their own activewear brand and the that campaign, launched to great acclaim in January, was an infringement of its copyright.
“In my view, it is plain that the two are confusingly similar: it is obvious that the average consumer would be likely to misread and/or mistype and/or mishear and/or misspeak one for the other from time to time,” the judge said in his summary of the case.
Nike had unsuccessfully argued that most people would associate LDNR with Londoner and not LNDR the brand. The sports giant had used the LDNR slogan in its ad and also on T-shirts worn by celebrities in TV commercials and at Nike live events.
The ads were pulled in March as LNDR secured a temporary injunction while it pursued its case. The court filings show that the advertising agency originally showed Nike executives a mock-up of the LDNR slogan in June of last year and that a trademark search was also carried out in which Nike uncovered LNDR’s trademark. “Nike have claimed privilege in respect of the search itself and any legal advice which may have been given as a result of it,” court papers said.
“Nike’s campaign gained a huge amount of exposure very quickly. From our point of view, it was educating the public that ‘LDNR’ was either a Nike trademark or that there was a collaboration between our two brands. We felt that we had no choice but to protect our brand and identity and the trademarks that support them, which are critical to our continued growth,” LNDR founder Joanna Turner said in a statement.
It is not yet known whether Nike intends to challenge the ruling.