Even those who are not trademark attorneys were calling out Oregon based Nike and Los Angeles-based company Undefeated for taking the United States Naval Academy crest and use it as a brand logo. As you can see here, many of the features of the two are the same. Nike and Undefeated just simply added the Undefeated simpler design at the center and changed the words and few other touches.
Many at the Naval Academy and around Maryland were not happy about this misappropriation with commercial purposes, because, in addition to the obvious copy of the graphic elements, military crests and symbols carry special meaning such as real commitment, sacrifice, bravery, and love for the country.
They represent a stronger culture that lasts longer than fashion and commercial whims.
Maryland reporters were asking questions and many commented on the story.
Hello, I am a reporter for The Capital in Annapolis, Maryland. I am writing a story about this logo and its similarity to the U.S. Naval Academy seal. I have some questions about the logo and would love to talk to someone at Undefeated. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
— Danielle Ohl (@DTOhl) June 12, 2018
There is more previous drama. Recently, Oregon based Nike lost his USNA football-jersey contract to Maryland based Under Armour, which caused some to suspect malicious motivations for the copyright infringement.
However, the situation was clear from the beginning and underscores the importance of filing trademarks: There is an active trademark filing called U. S. NAVAL ACADEMY EX TRIDENS SCIENTIA.
The U.S. Naval Academy issued a cease and desist letter to Nike and Undefeated along with this tweet.
The similarities of the Nike/UNDEFEATED logo released this week and the USNA Crest are undeniable and we believe their logo is clearly an infringement under trademark law. USNA is working with Navy leadership to order Nike/UNDEFEATED to cease and desist their use of the logo.
— U.S. Naval Academy (@NavalAcademy) June 14, 2018
As expected, Nike/Undefeated did not want to fight back a venerable institution such as the USNA and issued an apology for the logo infringement. This is part of the text:
“We recently were made aware of our logo being included into a design that has been previously used by one of our longstanding partners,” the company said. “We have always respected the U.S. 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.”