Nike is bothering Verstappen: ‘Want to benefit from our brand awareness and successes’

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Nike is bothering Verstappen: ‘Want to benefit from our brand awareness and successes’

Max Verstappen has had to deal with a commercial setback, De Limburger reports. According to the Limburg newspaper, Verstappen wanted to register Max 1 as a clothing brand, but sportswear giant Nike was not happy with that. According to the American company, Max 1 is too similar to Air Max. BOIP, the trademark office for the Benelux, went along with this.

The 25-year-old Limburger wanted to launch Max 1 as a clothing brand, clearly a combination of his first name and the starting number that can be found on the nose of his Red Bull since his first world title. According to Nike, however, the world champion would like to piggyback on the name recognition of the Air Max shoe. According to the Limburg newspaper, the sports brand spoke about commercial parasitism.

Verstappen, of course, held a different reading. According to the team around the Dutchman, the pronunciation of the Dutch name Max is clearly different from the pronunciation of Max in Air Max. In addition, the focus is not on Max, but on ‘1’ and ‘Air’, the Dutchman said. According to the Verstappens, there are 654 trademarks registered in the Benelux in the clothing industry in which the letter combination Max occurs.

Verstappen is not allowed to use Max 1

The BOIP did not agree with the explanation of the Dutchman and believes that the emphasis is indeed on the word ‘Max’. According to the trademark office, both Max 1 and Air Max are more often pronounced in the Dutch manner in the Benelux. In addition, the BOIP believes that the brand names are similar because they consist of two short words with the emphasis on the word ‘Max’.

Max may be a first name, but it has no specific meaning, according to BOIP. This could be the case if the fame of the person who bears the name leads to the name becoming a ‘conceptual symbol’, where everyone knows that the Max 1 refers to Max Verstappen. According to the trademark office, this is not the case with Max 1, because it is a common name. Because they are both brands with similar types of clothing, Max 1 may not be registered, so the Verstappens will have to look for another name for their clothing brand.

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