Sunday, 15 May 2011

Nike Golf 20xi



Breaking News: Nike infringes on small Social Enterprise sports brand, 20XII, for a new golf ball, 20XI. Nike began a trademark application for their new golf ball, 20XI, in willful infringement of a known trademark, one week after being introduced to 20XII. Company email exchanges confirm the prior introduction. Tiger Woods was swiftly hired to wear a hat with the logo and franchisees were quickly notified to get the message out there. And this, all before the trademark application is approved.
We may be small, but we're fighting back. And you can help by spreading the word:
20XII The Honor of Sport™ is the next generation of sports brands, in business for communities across the world, not just big business. Your support is invaluable and much appreciated.
Ours is a global mission to reinvigorate sports with the original, noble idea from Herodotus of ancient Greece who encouraged athletes to 'compete for honour, not for money', a philosophy that informs our sports and games profile for the next generation. We trust this brand will become synonymous with that ideal and show those athletes - and anyone else who believes in this ideal - in a truly honorable light.

Our profits aim to help support all poor communities across the world in sports and community programmes.
Financially, we cannot compete with Nike; but we wonder would Philip Knight have appreciated the unknown 'Nike' logo being diluted by a giant competitor when he started out all those years ago, just as Chris McGrath is starting out now with 20XII. The bottom line is, we think 'just do it' should not extend to knowingly infringing on the intellectual property of others. We admired Nike; but we now discover they represent all that is dishonourable in business and sport.
Needless to say, 20XII reluctantly finds itself in a battle to protect its brand from the sports retail giant whose actions are, for 20XII, the least honorable tribute to the sporting endeavours of athletes and sports men and women across the world. It is surely not the most auspicious start for any athlete to use or wear sporting equipment whose name is created in such a dishonorable way. While 20XII offers the original provenance of honor in sport, Nike's new branding can only damage an athlete's integrity and achievements. We ask the world to back 20XII - buy the clothes, wear the logo and show Nike that there is a more honourable way to work and play in the world.
20XII sincerely hopes Nike, Inc will withdraw its use of the mark and withdraw the golf ball from sale, but we're aware that Nike will feel invulnerable - too big to rattle. Well, if that is truly the legacy of Philip Knight's vision then we think we know athletes better than they do. Top athletes have a right to expect honor and integrity from the sponsors they endorse. Nike, for us, dishonours Tiger Woods and all athletes by their actions. And should Tiger find his form faltering, perhaps only the donning of a 20XII golf cap will restore the balance… Pick up the phone, Tiger… There is a better brand in 20XII…
So why are we here reaching out to you, the rest of the world, in a plea for help? The truth is, we’re right at the Philip Knight moment, gearing up to sell sports equipment out the back of his Plymouth Valiant - with one crucial difference. Our whole focus is to plough profits into poor communities across the world, right off the bat. And were it not for the fact that Nike, Inc have encouraged the rapid proliferation of the marketing of 20XI, despite our repeated behind the scenes attempts in recent months to encourage Nike to cease, we would not feel it necessary to begin to reveal the extent of Nike's rather cynical exploitation of our brand. Regrettably, we must as a first step legally challenge their trademark application for 20XI. But this is just the beginning.
Should we feel flattered by Nike’s 20XI, one week after introducing them to 20XII? In all honesty we think it's because Nike knew Chris McGrath had won the trademark 20XII after a battle with the Olympic Committee in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics and they saw an opportunity: infringe on and dilute 20XII with 20XI in readiness for next year's golf ball - to promote at the London 2012 Olympics.
For the Olympic Committee, 20XII is 2012. We claimed then and maintain there is no such association, but the full trademark is 20XII The Honor of Sport, so there was no confusion in our intention to associate 20XII with sport - Not even 2012, which the Olympic Committee own as a trademark, has such a well-defined association with sport, since the top Google return on 2012 is the 'End of The World'! Type in 20XII and you'll find it's... 20XII. No mistake. A new sports brand.
Despite our clear association with sport and the Olympic Committee's initially firm view that 20XII was seeking to trade on 2012, they were eventually persuaded otherwise and did not oppose our mark (How we did that remains a trade secret;).  It may be that Nike feel aggrieved that not even they managed to enshrine an Olympic association in law and are simply jumping on the bandwagon to trade on what they and clearly the Olympic Committee felt was the perfect London 2012 Games ambush marketing ploy (again, it wasn't and isn't our intention, as eventually agreed and understood by the Olympic Committee's withdrawal of opposition). Of course, Nike’s ambush of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics is notorious: avoiding US$ 50 million that an official sponsorship would have cost, Nike covered the city in billboards, handed out banners and put up an enormous Nike centre overlooking the stadium.
The result of Nike’s ambush? Many thought Nike was an official sponsor of the Games - the prize they sought. The tactics damaged the International Olympic Committee’s credibility and they’ve since beefed up their anti-ambush strategies. London is next and 20XII looks prime real-estate to Nike, no doubt. Gearing up with 20XI.
But here’s the thing: we own 20XII - and any derivative that seeks to trade on it in sport is infringement, plain and simple. Since we exchanged emails with Nike on 20XII one week before they started their 20XI trademark application, that's willful infringement of a known trademark (see bottom of post for the true legal position). We owe it to the poorest communities of the world we built it for to defend it. Even from the might of Nike.
Again, for the record, the logo has no connection to London’s 2012 Olympics. The Olympic Committee were persuaded. And we have no intention of ambushing the Olympics. We believe wholeheartedly in the Olympic ideal and our values were trusted by the Olympic Committee. They stepped back from court action on our trademark application, following initial scepticism, and the reason is clear: we’re not underhand ambush marketers. We’re a Social Enterprise, in business for profit to benefit communities across the world with 20XII. There’s a world of difference. Our ambition may well be to match the size of Nike in 10 years’ time, but never to compromise on the core value of honor; something Nike lost along the way, if it ever had it.
So, here we are at the beginning of a long journey, no doubt.  For Chris McGrath, a husband and father who has worked at the front line in social care for the last 10 years, the road ahead is daunting. But the facts are clear: Nike filed to trademark 20XI almost the moment it was introduced to 20XII and Tiger Woods is already a sponsor before the trademark application is complete. There’s no longer any doubt:  Nike lacks the right stuff for the 21st century, a century of honesty, integrity, social justice, fairness and honor that we all know is the right century to build for our children, not the deep cynicism of the Nike’s of this world. Nike belongs to the 20th century – a relic of a bygone era. And Tiger Woods, we think, does himself a disservice associating with such a dishonorable brand.  We trust he will withdraw his endorsement in due course. 
For those interested in the legal basis of 20XII's decision to fight Nike, Inc - and we think this is a matter of public interest that should be seen to play out in public from here on in - we are happy to offer the following, but ultimately it will be for the courts to determine the outcome.

Potential business partners who share our ideals are welcome to contact us at

If you believe in our cause, please click: donate to contribute to the legal fighting fund.
20XII The Honor of Sport

The United States is a Signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. Article 8 states: Trade Names - A trade name shall be protected in all the countries of the Union without the obligation of filing or registration, whether or not it forms part of a trademark. 20XI is an intended trading name of Nike’s that infringes upon the existing trading name 20XII The Honor of Sport™. In addition, First Niagara Ins. Brokers Inc. v. First Niagara Financial Group, Inc., establishes that foreign and domestic trademark owners can oppose United States trademark applications on the basis of likelihood-of-confusion even if they do not own a trademark registration in the United States. A trademark owner need only show prior use of its trademark in the United States. It is not necessary that the trademark owner use its trademark in a type of commerce lawfully regulated by United States Congress, such as interstate commerce. Mere use in the United States is sufficient. 20XII has been in use in the United States and over 70 other countries worldwide since 2008.

No comments:

Post a Comment