First Facebook, now Nike?
The clothing giant has taken its first steps in the metaverse. The Oregon-based company filed several new trademarks this week indicating its intention to make and sell Nike-branded virtual sneakers and apparel.
According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Nike filed for “Nike,” the brand’s famous “Just Do It” slogan and swoosh logo, on Oct. 27. The next day, two more applications were submitted for the “Air Jordan” and “Jumpman” logos. In total, seven different applications were submitted.
“Nike protects their trademarks for this new era,” said Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its future plans. However, people familiar with the strategy said space is a priority for the brand and consumers can expect more virtual rollouts in the coming months.
In addition to the trademark requests, Nike is also looking for space personnel. According to a job search at Nike, the company recently posted jobs for a virtual shoe material designer and other virtual design roles. The job postings, posted on Oct. 23, read: “This role is part of the Digital Product Creation group, a team focused on unleashing the digital and virtual revolution at Nike.”
The registered trademarks “would very clearly be a nod to this idea of the metaverse,” Gerben said. “They are filing new applications for the company’s key trademarks and say they will be launching and selling virtual clothing, headwear and shoes, in online and virtual worlds.”
According to Gerben, the new brands also offer Nike additional protection in case others try to use the brand without a license.
“If you want to control your trademarks in that world, it becomes easier if you only have registrations for virtual goods,” he said. Gerben said the registered trademarks will also add value to the overall brand portfolio, as trademarks are a form of ownership.
“You can imagine the value that Nike’s name or logo would have if you were just selling, so the more protection you build into your trademarks, the more value you add to the company’s book value,” he added.
This is not the brand’s first step into the virtual world. In May 2019, the Jordan brand partnered with Fortnite, where characters wore Nike sneakers. Nike has also had several collaborations with the online gaming platform Roblox.
The company is still awaiting a patent filed in April 2019 for “Cryptokicks,” which Nike plans to use as a non-replaceable token.
As Nike gears up for the virtual world, the physical world has most recently been impacted by supply chain issues. In its most recent earnings report, on Sept. 23, the company lowered its fiscal 2022 forecast to take into account longer transit times, labor shortages and prolonged production shutdowns in Vietnam.
Nike stock is up 18% to date, bringing its market value to more than $265 billion.