Michael Jackson has been involved in a significant number of lawsuits following his death during 2009, but the most recent might be one of the more curious: Nike is suing three of its former employees over their attempts to launch a shoe and athletic apparel line based on Jackson’s personal style. The collection was dubbed “Moonwalker.”
Nike claims that Denis Dekovic, a former designer for the company, had desired to create a line for the company that was based on both Jackson’s stage apparel and “existing” designs from the company’s vintage collection. Apparently, however, he and fellow evacuees Marc Dolce and Mark Miner sought to pursue the idea further once they broke from Nike and went to start a design studio under competitor Adidas. This violated the company’s “employee invention and secrecy agreement,” which all of the designers signed upon beginning at Nike (from Oregon Live).
The issue stems not only from whether Dekovic and company illegally borrowed from Nike’s designs when they moved over to Adidas, but that their own personal designs became Nike property when they drew them under the athletic apparel company.
“I am surprised that Dekovic would have been attempting to develop a personal (non-Nike) footwear product while employed by Nike as a footwear designer,” said Andrew Caine, the Nike vice president of footwear design, in a court filing.
Dekovic and his cohorts have filed a countersuit however, alleging that the contract they had signed was itself illegal. His filing stated that “[Nike] approved, did not object, and/or encouraged his contribution to the outside Moonwalker project.”
Dekovic had told outside investors that the line would generate upwards of $93 million in profit over six years from its 2015 launch. That’s the sort of money that Nike seems unlikely to let get away.
The respective lawsuits will play out in the circuit courts of Multnomah County, in Nike’s home state of Oregon.
This is just one of three lawsuits that Nike is currently wrapped up in.
(the below video isn’t the shoe in question…just another Nike product taking influence from the King of Pop)