Nike Sues MMA Brand Venum over Trademark Infringement

Kyle Symes@ksymes88Correspondent IIIFebruary 19, 2014

Feb 15, 2014; Jaragua do Sul, SC, Brazil; Lyoto Machida (red gloves) before his fight against Gegard Mousasi (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night Machida vs Mousasi at Arena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Nike is taking its slogan of "Just do it!" and applying it to the courtroom.

According to a report from Sherdog (h/t to MMA Mania), Nike, the world's leading sports apparel company, has filed a lawsuit against the popular MMA brand Venum.

The lawsuit was filed on Jan. 8, 2014 and alleges false designation of origin, unfair competition and seeks cancellation of trademarks. It centers around the fact that Nike is claiming it's used the Venom name since 2002 and had it trademarked in 2005.

Listed as the defendants, DBV Distribution, Inc. and Dragon Bleu (SARL) have had the name Venum trademarked since 2008.

The lawsuit also claims that Venum filed a suit against Nike this past November in France, alleging Nike’s use of the mark “Hypervenom” on soccer boots infringed on the Venum mark in Europe.

An interesting tidbit from the lawsuit could cause some major concern for the defendants' case (via MMA Mania):

Defendants intentionally attempt to draw associations between Nike and Defendants. For example in addition to Infringing Products Defendants advertise offer to sell, or distribute authentic Nike product on their websites. As of the filing date of this Complaint, Defendants were offering at least eleven different styles of Nike boxing shoes on their website.

Venum is the current sponsor of UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, Carlos Condit, Wanderlei Silva, Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua, among others.

Nike is also involved in the MMA sponsorship game, sponsoring such fighters as former champions Anderson Silva and Junior dos Santos and current UFC light heavyweight champ Jon "Bones" Jones.

My initial thought is that this might have something to do with the recent revelation of an official UFC uniform. Nike is already heavily involved with the NFL and has a new uniform for the University of Oregon seemingly every week.

It's also not the first time Nike has been involved in a lawsuit involving trademark infringement.

If this case goes to court, I would imagine DBV Distribution, Inc. and Dragon Bleu (SARL) will have trouble keeping up with Nike's endless revenue stream and legal team.