First Facebook, now Nike?
The clothing giant has taken its first steps into the metaverse. The Oregon-based company has filed several new trademarks this week, indicating its intention to make and sell Nike-branded sneakers and apparel.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Nike filed applications on October 27 for “Nike,” the brand’s famous slogan “Just Do It” and its swoosh logo. The following day, two more applications were filed for the “Air Jordan” and “Jumpman” logos. A total of seven different applications have been submitted.
“Nike is protecting their trademarks for this new era,” said trademark attorney Josh Gerben.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its future plans. But people familiar with its strategy said space is a priority for the brand and consumers can expect to see more virtual rollouts in the coming months.
In addition to the brand requests, Nike is also looking to staff up the space. According to a search for Nike jobs, the company recently announced openings for one virtual material designer of footwear and other virtual design roles. The posts posted on October 23 said, “this role sits in the Digital Product Creation group, a team focused on igniting the digital and virtual revolution at Nike.”
“This would very clearly be a nod to this idea of the metaverse,” Gerben said of trademark applications. “They are filing new applications for the company’s main brands and say they will launch and start selling virtual clothing, headwear, shoes, in an online and virtual worlds.”
According to Gerben, the new brands also give Nike extra protection in the event that others try to use the brand in an unlicensed manner.
“If you want to control your brands in that world, it’s going to be easier if you just own virtual product registrations,” he added. Gerben said the trademark applications will also add value to the overall brand portfolio, as trademarks are a form of property.
“You can imagine the value that Nike’s name or logo has if you just sold, so the more protection you build into your trademarks, the more value you add to the company’s book value,” he added.
This is not the brand’s first foray into the virtual world. In May 2019, the Jordan brand merged with Fortnite, where characters wore Nike-branded sneakers. Nike has also had several collaborations with the online gaming platform Roblox.
The company is still awaiting a patent filed in April 2019 for “Cryptokicks”, which Nike plans to use as a non-fungal token.
As Nike prepares for the virtual world, its physical world has recently been affected by supply chain problems. In its most recent earnings report on September 23, the company lowered its fiscal 2022 outlook to take into account longer transit times, labor shortages and prolonged production stoppages in Vietnam.
Nike shares have risen 18% year-to-date, bringing the market value to more than $ 265 billion.