April 2018. Nike’s Jumpman logo doesn’t infringe photographer Jacobus Rentmeester’s copyright, so he won’t be getting the large claim for damages he’d demanded. A Court of Appeal in Oregon issued the ruling at the end of February.
Rentmeester, a Dutch citizen living in New York, had been in dispute with Nike since 2015. He claimed the sports clothing giant had based its Jumpman logo, which has enjoyed widespread global use since 1987, on a 1984 photograph he took of legendary basketballer Michael Jordan.
He argued that Nike had used his photo to create a new version of Jordan performing a slam dunk. It’s the silhouette on this new photo that Nike had apparently used for its Jumpman logo, which Rentmeester said constituted an infringement of copyright. Why he waited nearly 30 years to put forward his claim isn’t clear.
No claim on pose
Having lost the initial case, Rentmeester has now drawn the short straw at appeal as well. While it’s true the concept behind the two photos is the same, the photographer can’t claim copyright to the pose as such, the court concluded. Moreover, there were clear differences between Jordan’s pose on both photos.