The story goes that Nike's "JUST DO IT" mark originated from
the 1977 execution of murderer, Gary Gilmore. Gilmore, who was executed by a Utah
firing squad, offered as his final words, "Let's do it."
As told in Jonah Lehrer's book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, Gilmore's final words before death were altered just a bit, giving rise to Nike's iconic slogan, "JUST DO IT."
But where did Nike's recent slogan, "I WILL," originate? According
to a complaint filed last Thursday, it originated with Under Armour.
Under Armour claims to have used and promoted the trademark
tagline I WILL at least as early as 1998. Late last year, Nike launched an ad
campaign that focused on the phrase I WILL.
"On its FACEBOOK page," Under Armour says, "visited by many
thousands of consumers, Defendant [Nike] features a series of images ... each prominently featuring the I WILL trademark/tagline,
including one where I WILL is paired with 'PROTECT MY HOME COURT' ...."
"HOME COURT" is accused of being synonymous with "HOUSE,"
thereby evoking Under Armour's combined use of PROTECT THIS HOUSE and I WILL.
Under Armour points out that Nike has aggressively enforced
its rights in "JUST DO IT" to prevent infringement and dilution (e.g., Nike, Inc. v. Circle Group Internet, Inc.,
318 F. Supp. 2d 688 (N.D. Ill. 2004 [enhanced
version available to lexis.com subscribers]).
Consequently, Under Armour says, "[d]efendant
is well-aware of the source identifying power of taglines such as 'I WILL.'"
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