Jumpman Lawsuit Baseless: Nike

Published By : 19 Mar 2015 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

In 1984, a photographer clicked a picture of Michael Jordan soaring towards the hoop. He claims that Nike’s Jordan Brand “Jumpman” Logo on all their Jordan endorsed clothes and shoes are a copyright violation. Nike spokespersons have called the lawsuit meritless and baseless during a motion to dismiss the case.

The federal suit was filed in January by Jacobus Rentmeester, a photographer. The motion dismiss that was filed on Monday says that Jacobus presents precisely the type of case that is meritless and the reason for which motions to dismiss cases were created.

In the lawsuit, the photographer says that Nike paid him US$150 in 2984 for temporary usage of two 35mm transparencies that he had taken of Jordan, meant for Life magazine. In the year that followed, Nike took a photograph of Jordan in a similar scene. This was a time when the current NBA Hall of Fame player was just a student at the University of North Carolina.

The Nike document says that copyright protection laws require two photos of the same subject to be virtually identical. Rentmeester falls very short of that standard in making his case. There are significant differences in the two photos in terms of mood, lighting, color, expression, style, and setting.

The motion to dismiss also gives note of the fact that Rentmeester had waited for decades after the two photos were produced in order to take legal action. Nike says that the delay in producing legal action speaks volumes about the photographer in terms of his own assessment of merits.

Another point the Nike motion makes is that the pose Jordan makes - the alleged grand-jete pose – is not an original creation of Rentmeester, but in fact is a historic part of the ballet canon.
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