Nearly 3 years ago MIKE, formally known as Mike 23 Inc., was born with one goal in mind – to provide the market with what was missing. When Scott Nelson, founder of MIKE, was asked what was a driving force of inspiration, he replied “the greatest man to ever lace up a pair of sneakers and play the game of basketball, Michael Jeffrey Jordan” as he said in an interview with FreshnessMag in 2005.
Famed for “bringing crack back”, MIKE has gained major attention over the past several years with appearances in culture and art magazines such as Mass Appeal and Juxtopoz, but also in mainstream magazines including SLAM, XXL, and Complex. His brand’s use of elephant print caught major attention from sneakerheads, Jordan enthusiasts, and celebrities too.
Last month, I had a brief visit with Scott on the floor of MAGIC in Las Vegas, but ironically the same day that I met with him and saw his upcoming products, Nike’s legal team dated a Cease & Desist letter that was received by Scott after the trade show.
The letter acknowledges that Scott Nelson has described MIKE as a tribute to Jordan, but continues: ???Nike and Converse hereby demand that you and Mike23 Inc. cease and desist from all infringing use of any mark, logo or design that infringes Nike and Converse???s rights.??? Further, the demand requests an ???orderly withdrawal of all infringing products from the market,??? and that Mike23.com be ???disabled immediately, at least to the extent that any page shows or references an infringing mark, logo or design or references Michael Jordan.???
Scott has indicated that he has is in no position to wage a legal fight with Nike, and even if victorious, most of his retailers hold accounts with Nike or Jordan that they would not be willing to jeopardize.
While we are not looking to side one way or the other, we do have to pose one valid question – why after nearly 3 years of active commerce was he sent the C&D and not when his business began? Great read about this topic on murketing as well as an interview with Scott from two years ago.