Succulent Arrangement TikToker Has ‘JustSuccIt’ Trademark Request Against Nike

from success-to-be-you department

As you’d expect, Nike often finds itself embroiled in intellectual property stories. To be fair, the company has been on both sides of the IP coin. There are plenty of stories of Nike playing intellectual property bully: all the Satan Shoes dust with MSCHF, its successful practice in infringement lawsuits, and so on. But the company has also found itself at the mercy of intellectual property litigation, sometimes well-deserved, sometimes less so.

Among the company’s most protected intellectual properties is the trademark the company has on its famous motto: JUST DO IT. Nike goes after companies, usually during the trademark application process, whenever there is an attempt to file a “Just [word] it”. Most of these actions have focused on clothing or sports companies. But now, a company that produces succulent compositions widely advertised on TikTok has found its trademark application for “JustSuccIt” opposed by Nike.

Andrea Galbreath, owner of a California-based succulent company, said Nike took issue with the trademark she owns for her business, JustSuccIt. The athletic footwear and apparel giant said it was going against its brand because JustSuccIt could be “detrimental to their brand”, according to a TikTok posted by Galbreath on Saturday.

“Nike is coming after me! she said in the TikTok. “I’m just a small business in San Juan Capistrano, trying to sow happiness in other people’s lives. So I’m trying my best to get by. Can you please help me say Nike to leave me alone?”

Alright, let’s state something: Nike’s slogan “JUST DO IT” is an absolutely famous brand. This is important here, because famous marks enjoy much greater protection than a standard mark. Because it is a famous mark, and rightly so, Nike can go beyond the standard case of likelihood of confusion to oppose the mark. You’ll notice that public confusion isn’t what Nike is complaining about above. Instead, it seems to go with tarnishing as its reasoning, based on the claim that JustSuccIt would be detrimental to its brand.

There is another recognized federal cause of action in the United States for famous marks known as dilution by tarnishing. It is the use of a famous mark in connection with goods or services of poor quality or of an unsavory nature. Dilution can occur even if the two companies are not competitors and there is no likelihood of confusion.

It’s all very true and I guess Nike’s point of view here is that “JustSuccIt” sounds phonetically identical to “Just suck it”, which could be construed as disreputable… except it doesn’t in this case. The company sells arrangements made from succulents, a type of plant. I’m not particularly convinced that the first thing that would come to most people’s minds upon hearing “JustSuccIt” is even Nike’s slogan. It certainly wasn’t mine, although I admit to being extremely disreputable myself.

The product or service in this case is not unpleasant. The trademark application really isn’t either, though I imagine Nike will play a lot on potential renditions of it that are disreputable in nature. Still, that’s one hell of a pretty tiny reason to go against the brand. And, if that is the approach, it essentially recognizes that there is no concern about public confusion in the market, nor competition between the two companies.

So, I guess the open question is whether the USPTO will consider “JustSuccIt” disreputable or not.

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Filed Under: andrea galbreath, just do it, justsuccit, plant arrangement, shoes, succulents, trademark
Companies: justsuccit, nike

About William G. Patrick

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