The Nike Ab Tee Shirt is regaining popularity in Germany and the United States amongst youth and counter-culture kin after much dispute to the authenticity of whether or not this is actually a Nike manufactured product. This shirt is so hard to find because it doesn’t have distribution in the U.S. most likely because of assumed pressure from Nike to restrict sales of the item based on claims of trademark and copyright infringement. While the artist’s name and manufacture of the shirt first remained elusive as Banksy; we have uncovered the artist responsible for design and his name is Alexander Tikhomirov who is a self-described artist and filmmaker. Alex modeled the t-shirt after his own tattoo “born to be” which he has tattooed on his own abs.
So does this awesomely designed t-shirt create a legitimate trademark dispute with Nike even though it doesn’t say the word Nike or show the iconic Nike Swoosh? We assume the reason why you cannot find this highly sought after Nike ab t-shirt anywhere on the internet or in any brick and mortar store is because the product is considered a counterfeit product and was not sold, endorsed, or manufactured by Nike, Inc. We assume it infringes on the Nike Swoosh logo and Nike’s internal counterfeit team works tirelessly to suppress unauthorized individuals from distributing and selling product like this. Does the fact that thousands of people are searching for this item with the keywords “Nike Ab” prove that the intent of the artist is to deceive the consumer into believing the shirt is a genuine and authentic Nike brand product. If the product was purely an art piece and not made for profiting off of another’s registered trademark then there would no concern, however because there is an attempt to deceive and profit from this product this is where it breaks the law. While seemingly harmless these types of fake products can damage a brand’s equity and this may be why we haven’t seen global distribution for this product.
The bottom line is counterfeiting is illegal and it has a significant impact on our global economy by removing thousands of jobs and costing the global economy over $500 billion of revenue a year. Litigation will be required to determine if this product can be sold in the U.S. markets but until it has been decided by a court of law this product should be considered a great parody or art piece. Until that time Tikhomirov will be able to continue to profit on this tee.
If you can’t wait for the gavel to drop to determine the legal ramifications of purchasing potentially counterfeit product you can get it at ILifeStore. The site is a Romania website operating out of the EU that ships internationally.
What are your thoughts on this shirt? Is it infringing on Nike’s trademarks? Looking forward to your comments below…