(CN) – Nike failed to prove a company suing it over use of the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” obtained a trademark on that phrase through fraud, a San Diego federal judge ruled.
Bauer Bros sued Nike in California’s Southern District over their use of the phrase, and Nike filed counterclaims against Bauer.
In its suit against Nike, Bauer said that no other party had the right to use the trademark. Nike claimed Bauer knew that the phrase had historical significance but did not submit particular evidence of this.
“Nike has failed to offer any authority for the proposition that a trademark with historical significance is not subject to registration,” U.S. District Judge William Hayes wrote on Tuesday. “Even if Nike had done so, the amended counterclaims do not allege with particularity ‘the historical significance and origin’ of the phrases at issue.”
Hayes granted Bauer’s motion to dismiss some of Nike’s claims, but he said Nike can press on with other fraud claims. The company says it was fraudulent of Bauer to claim that it used the disputed trademark on all 115 items it had listed in court documents.