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Why Nike Is Moving to Trademark ‘Footware’

Ella Chochrek

No typo here: Nike Inc. is looking to trademark “footware.”

The athletic company is seeking to expand its range of “smart” sneakers, such as the self-lacing Adapt BB that released in February. And as its futuristic offerings grow, Nike seems to be making a branding push to sell them as “footware.”

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The Oregon-based sneaker giant filed an intent-to-use trademark application for registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office late last month, as first reported by the Fashion Law. In the application, Nike seeks to register the term in referring to various types of computer hardware and software.

Notably, the trademark would not extend to Class 25 (the class that covers footwear) so other manufacturers could still use the word in referring to their shoes. Other companies would not, however, be able to market computer-aided sneakers as “footware.”

Nike’s been at the forefront of the tech sneaker game, introducing its self-lacing system with the 2016 Mag launch and refining its technology with the release of the Adapt BB this year. If the USPTO goes for it, the Swoosh’s branding push could put it in position to dominate should other players enter the “smart” sneaker race.

However, the question remains as to whether customers want smart shoes. Performance sneakers have dipped in popularity in recent years, with customers instead favoring lifestyle styles.

“I think the consumer today is not oriented toward innovation. We’re very much grounded in this athleisure cycle right now, and technical innovation in shoes is not what the consumer is looking for,” Matt Powell, senior sports industry adviser at The NPD Group Inc. told FN in January.

The full trademark application can be read below:

IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Computer hardware modules for receiving, processing, and transmitting data in Internet of things electronic devices; electronic devices and computer software that allow users to remotely interact with other smart devices for monitoring and controlling automated systems; computer software and firmware used to allow electronic devices to share data and communicate with each other; software drivers for electronic devices that allow computer hardware and electronic devices to communicate with each other; computer software for network and device security, namely, software that ensures secure receipt, processing, transmission and storage of data in the internet of things; computer software for use and interoperability of application program interfaces that are used by electronic devices, systems, and interchanges that exchange data via communications networks and the internet and that connect with private and public computer networks for data storage and exchange services

IC 038. US 100 101 104. G & S: Telecommunications services, namely, transmission of data by means of telecommunications networks, wireless communications networks and the Internet

IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Application service provider featuring application programming interface (API) software for integration of third-party applications to allow an interactive user experience; Cloud computing featuring software for connecting, operating and managing networked devices via wireless or wired networks; cloud computing featuring software for connecting, operating and managing networked devices in the internet of things; cloud computing featuring software for use in the collection, management, monitoring, storage and analysis of data; cloud computing featuring software for managing machine-to-machine applications and machine-to-machine networks; providing temporary use of non-downloadable cloud-based software for connecting, operating, and managing networked payment terminals, entertainment devices, smartphones, lighting systems, HVAC systems, in the internet of things (IoT)

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