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Published
Jun 18, 2018
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Nike pulls soccer line after allegations of copying US Naval Academy Crest

Published
Jun 18, 2018

Nike has apologized and pulled a soccer line it planned to launch with LA-based label Undefeated after the US Naval Academy addressed the brand on Twitter calling the graphics an abuse and infringement of the USNA Crest.


Left: Nike/Undefeated logo; Right: US Naval Academy logo - Twitter


In a tweet on Thursday, the US Naval Academy said "the similarities of the Nike/Undefeated logo released this week and the USNA Crest are undeniable," adding,  "we believe their logo is clearly an infringement under trademark law." At the time, the Naval Academy was working on a cease and desist letter to Nike and Undefeated.

The collection was intended to be a soccer collaboration between streetwear label Undefeated and Nike. It was going to be called The Fives and prominently featured a crest between two columns and surrounding embellishments, all of which bears a striking similarity to the USNA Crest.

The main difference between the USNA Crest and Nike's is that the apparel companies switched out an image of a boat and a trident for the Undefeated bar logo and Nike Swoosh. The USNA logo has a banner with a latin motto that translates to "from knowledge, seapower." Nike's logo had a banner with a motto that said "respect all, fear none."

The US Naval Academy posted additional tweets explaining the significance of the seal and why it was so offensive that the companies copied it. The tweets read that the USNA Seal "represents honor, integrity and leadership, and is emblematic of our students and more than 80k alumni who serve and have served our country, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in its defense."

The USNA added, "It is difficult to understand why anyone would modify and use our symbol without permission for marketing and profit motives."

Nike responded in a statement apologizing to the USNA, calling the US Navy and its Academy the company's longstanding partners. Nike said, "We have always respected the US Navy and its Academy and have been a longtime supporter of the military. We do not feel it is appropriate to move forward with the collection. We apologize to anyone who was offended."

Nike had planned to launch the collection at a soccer event in LA over the weekend but following the controversy, the product will no longer be made available.

The US Naval Academy posted a final tweet concluding the controversy. The USNA wrote it appreciated Nike's announcement that it was pulling The Fives and said, "We are pleased by this decision which is respectful of the Academy, our students and alumni."

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