SBD/May 28, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

USATF Sends Cease-And-Desist Letter To Oiselle For Altering Nike Logo In Photo

Women’s running apparel brand Oiselle after the U.S. women's 4 x 1500-meter team finished second at the IAAF World Relays Championships on Saturday posted a photo on its Instagram feed which "shows the Nike logo on the U.S. uniforms replaced by the logo of three of the athletes' current sponsor," according to Megan Hetzel of RUNNER'S WORLD. In the altered photo, Katie Mackey's uniform "showed the Brooks logo, [Kate] Grace's the Oiselle logo, and Brenda Martinez's the New Balance logo." Heather Kampf, the fourth team member, is "sponsored by Asics, but the Nike logo on her shorts appears not to have been altered." The post spurred USATF to send a cease-and-desist letter via e-mail to Oiselle "asking them to remove the doctored photo immediately." Nike is the sponsor of USATF, a partnership that was renewed until '40. Upon acceptance to a national team, athletes "sign an agreement saying they will not alter the uniform or logo." USATF Chief Public Affairs Officer Jill Geer said, "We own the uniform, and any alteration of the uniform itself or in photos is a violation of our intellectual property." She added, "We have to protect the business interests of our national team uniform as well as the integrity of the uniform." Geer said that typical infractions "involve people airbrushing out parts of the uniform." But she added, "We’ve never had someone go and replace the logos and create the false impression of the uniform being another brand" (RUNNERSWORLD.com, 5/27).
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