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Nike Trademark Just Do It

Did Nike Trademark “Just Do It?” Let’s Explore.



19 February 20242 min read

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 Did Nike Trademark “Just Do It?” Let’s Explore.

Nike, recognized globally for its contribution to sportswear and athletic excellence, is also renowned for its inspiring slogan, "Just Do It."

This phrase has become more than just a marketing message; it's an emblem of motivation and determination.

A key question that arises is whether Nike trademarked this powerful slogan and, if so, when this significant event occurred in the brand's history.

Where it all began:

Nike, Inc., a global leader in athletic apparel, started as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) in 1964, founded by Bill Bowerman, a track-and-field coach at the University of Oregon, and Phil Knight, one of his athletes.

Initially, BRS imported and sold Tiger running shoes from Japan, but the duo soon began designing their own footwear.

The company's name changed to Nike in 1971, inspired by the Greek goddess of victory, and they introduced their first self-designed product, the Nike “Moon Shoe,” featuring an innovative waffle outsole.

This launch marked the beginning of Nike's transformation into a major athletic brand, renowned for its product innovation and marketing prowess.

The iconic Swoosh logo, symbolizing motion and speed, became a hallmark of the brand. Over the years, Nike has grown into a symbol of athletic excellence and cultural influence, continually evolving and expanding its global reach.

Nike's trademarks — the birth of a slogan

(Nike's first "Just Do It" commercial)

Nike, after its initial rise to fame in the athletic footwear and apparel industry, faced a period of challenge and stagnation.

In the mid-1980s, the company experienced a significant slump.

This downturn was attributed to several factors, including:

  1. Increased competition,
  2. A saturated sneaker market,
  3. And a failure to anticipate shifts in consumer preferences.

Nike's overreliance on the running shoe market, which had begun to mature, and its slow response to the aerobics trend contributed to its struggles.

During this time, Nike realized the need to diversify its product line and appeal to a wider range of consumers.

It was in this context, in 1988, that Nike, already a formidable name in the sports industry, sought to reinvigorate its brand and expand its reach.

The company aimed to go beyond the niche of serious athletes and reach everyday people who were becoming increasingly health and fitness-conscious.

The creation of the slogan "Just Do It" marked a pivotal moment in Nike's revival.

This iconic phrase was developed by the advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, and specifically by Dan Wieden.

The slogan, surprisingly, drew inspiration from a rather grim source: the last words of Gary Gilmore, a convicted criminal, who said "Let's do it" before his execution.

Wieden saw potential in these words and tweaked them, resulting in a slogan that embodied empowerment and action.

The "Just Do It" campaign was a massive success, helping Nike to capture the spirit of an era focused on fitness, perseverance, and personal achievement.

It resonated powerfully with a broad audience, contributing significantly to Nike's resurgence.

This marketing strategy, along with expanding into new sports categories, celebrity endorsements, and technological innovations in footwear, helped Nike overcome its slump and solidify its status as a global leader in the sports industry.

Trademarking "Just Do It"

Recognizing the slogan's potential, Nike filed for a trademark on "Just Do It" in the United States.

The trademark rights were officially granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).


The exact date of this trademark registration was July 4, 1989, under the registration number 1,586,960.

This legal step ensured Nike's exclusive rights to use the slogan in connection with its products and advertising, a strategic move that played a crucial role in the brand's market dominance.

Impact on branding and culture

The launch of the "Just Do It" campaign marked a turning point for Nike, a company that evolved from Blue Ribbon Sports to a dominant force in the athletic shoes market.

This slogan, bolstering the appeal of products like Nike shoes and the Michael Jordan line, resonated across a vast demographic.

It went beyond elite athletes, reaching anyone aspiring to push their limits, whether in sports or in life.

This powerful message of perseverance and challenge, often paired with the iconic imagery of Nike shoes and Michael Jordan's athletic prowess, became synonymous with Nike's brand identity.

It played a significant role in boosting sales of Nike's athletic shoes, reinforcing the brand's reputation for quality and innovation, and solidifying its position as a leader in the sportswear market.

Owning the trademark for "Just Do It" meant that Nike had to actively protect its intellectual property.

The brand has been involved in numerous legal actions to prevent unauthorized and potentially misleading or brand-diluting uses of the slogan.

These efforts have been key to maintaining the slogan's unique association with the Nike brand and its underlying values.

The path to one of the most famous trademarks

Nike's decision to trademark "Just Do It" on July 4, 1989, was a strategic move that has contributed immensely to the company's brand strength and market presence.

More than just a slogan, "Just Do It" has become an integral part of Nike's identity, encapsulating a message of motivation and resilience that resonates globally.

As Nike continues to inspire and innovate in the world of sports and beyond, "Just Do It" stands as a powerful symbol of the brand's enduring influence and vision.


How did Nike get their logo "Just Do It"?

Nike's "Just Do It" slogan was created by the advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy in 1988. It was coined by Dan Wieden, drawing inspiration from the last words of Gary Gilmore. The phrase was intended to resonate with a broad audience and encapsulate a spirit of determination and action.

What is trademarked by Nike?

Nike has trademarked its name, the "Swoosh" logo, and the slogan "Just Do It," among other designs and phrases. These trademarks protect the brand's identity and prevent unauthorized use in connection with sports apparel, equipment, and advertising.

What does Nike's "Just Do It" mean?

Nike's "Just Do It" slogan is a motivational phrase encouraging individuals to overcome hesitation and take action, particularly in the context of sports and fitness. It embodies a message of perseverance, determination, and pushing past limits.

How successful was Nike's "Just Do It" campaign?

The "Just Do It" campaign was immensely successful for Nike, significantly boosting its sales and global brand recognition. It resonated across diverse demographics, transforming Nike into a symbol of determination and athletic aspiration, and contributing to its status as a leading sportswear company.

Is it illegal to print a Nike logo on a shirt?

Yes, printing the Nike logo on a shirt without authorization is illegal. It constitutes trademark infringement, as the Nike logo is a protected trademark. Unauthorized use can mislead consumers and dilute the brand's identity, leading to legal consequences.

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