Nike Owns the Term 'Waffle,' Opposes Rival Trademark
The word "waffle" has multiple meanings. You can be referring to the delicious breakfast food, or you could be saying that someone changes his or her mind about things. Or, in the case of Nike, you are talking about designs on clothing and textures. That last definition belongs to Nike and Nike alone.
The Fashion Law reported that Nike recently opposed another company's pending trademark application for "WAFL+," claiming that it's too close to "Waffle," to which Nike has its own trademark registration.
Dommonic Nelson filed to register WAFL+ in June 2015, after getting the idea for the brand in 2012.
"WAFL+, from its inception, is a trademark that is meant to empower others, a mark that grows into a brand that represents euphoria and accomplishments in people's lives," Nelson told The Fashion Law. "It is an acronym similar to FUBU (For Us By Us), another four-letter brand."
Nike, however, did not see the application as empowering—at least not to its own brand.
"[Such a] registration would damage and injure [Nike]," the company claimed in its opposition. ... [It] will inevitably lead to confusion, to mistake or to deception of the public."
Nike owns multiple federally registered trademarks relating to this issue, including "Wafle," "Waffle Racer" and "Waffle Trainer," which it has used for footwear items since the 1970s.
"As we await notice from Nike Inc. legal representatives, we've retreated back underground," Nelson said to The Fashion Law. "We have an immense level of respect for the remarkable Nike Inc. brand, and hope our proactive amendments are viewed as full cooperation."