Beginning Next Week: InsideCounsel will become part of Corporate Counsel. Bringing these two industry-leading websites together will now give you comprehensive coverage of the full spectrum of issues affecting today's General Counsel at companies of all sizes. You will continue to receive expert analysis on key issues including corporate litigation, labor developments, tech initiatives and intellectual property, as well as Women, Influence & Power in Law (WIPL) professional development content. Plus we'll be serving all ALM legal publications from one interconnected platform, powered by, giving you easy access to additional relevant content from other InsideCounsel sister publications.

To prevent a disruption in service, you will be automatically redirected to the new site next week. Thank you for being a valued InsideCounsel reader!


Nike seeks dismissal of Jumpman infringement suit

Nike files to dismiss copyright infringement suit over Michael Jordan image

In January, Jacobus Rentmeester filed a lawsuit against Nike, alleging that the sneaker company had infringed on his copyright with its use of the Jumpman logo on Air Jordan sneakers. Now, Nike has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, hoping to avoid revealing specifics of its business plan.

Rentmeester took photos of basketball legend Michael Jordan for a piece in Life magazine in 1984. The images were highly stylized and required Jordan to pose in ways that are not natural to his basketball style. Rentmeester claims that Nike took his images, altered them and used them for promotional materials for Air Jordan sneakers, a brand that has earned Nike billions of dollars in revenue. Nike and Rentmeester reached a licensing agreement in 1985, but now the photographer claims that the “Jumpman” logo infringes in his intellectual property.



Jordan image dispute highlights issues in visual arts copyright cases

What you can learn about trademarks from sports celebrities

Pitching in



But now, Nike has fired back, filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Nike acknowledges that it paid Rentmeester for use of the image initially but contends that the Jumpman logo is distinct enough from Rentmeester’s image and that the suit is baseless.

"Rentmeester falls far short of that standard here given the significant — and self-evident —differences in mood, lighting, setting, expression, color, style and overall look and feel of his photograph, on the one hand, and Nike's photograph and logo on the other," Nike stated in court documents.

Nike wants the court to decide on the dismissal immediately so as to avoid engaging in the discovery process.

Senior Editor and Community Manager

author image

Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

Bio and more articles

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.