Schools dropping/suing Adidas
I hope they go back to Nike just because I hate the neon maize hockey and basketball jerseys
So you don't think Nike, the creator of The Oregon Ducks uniforms, wouldn't push a brighter yellow for maize? Grass is always greener....
Well I'm probably wrong, but doesn't Nike have a trademark on the exact Michigan color, which forced Adidas to go with a color called "highlighter"?
How is this possible? I can't imagine Nike owning a trademark on a color -- much less a color of a brand (or the associated goodwill) that they don't even own. Link?
I don't know if Nike owns a "color" but have you ever heard of trade dress, which is a legal term of art that generally refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the design of a building) that signify the source of the product to consumers.
I represented a client some years ago who obtained protection for lime green packaging for a product it produced.
Here is a Wiki link if you are interested:
you cannot trademark a color. Does Nike get a cut of the "Legal Pad" writing paper that I am using right now due to its sheer yellowness? And how close does the yellow have to be to be in Nike's "territory." I think Crayola would be all over Nike's ass if that is the case.
And even if you could trademark a color, what kind of a colossal failure would it be on U-M's part to allow one of their colors to be appropriated by an apparel company?
Nike also developed and owns Texas' "burnt orange." They're the only company that can legally use that name too.
You CAN trademark colors.
may own the term but they do not own the color. Unless you literally invented a new color, one that could not properly be accounted for by the alteration or blending of previously existing colors, like invented something previously never even considered in the wonderful and endless world of colors, you cannot have exclusive right to the use of it. The very fact that the word orange is in that term means that the color itself is fair game for anybody they want to use it. Just call it "rustic orange" or "western orange" and your good. Nike does not own Maizish-Yellow. Michigan does not own Maizish-Yellow. Maizish-Yellow is its own boss.
Apparently you didn't read the link I posted above. For instance, 3M trademarked the "canary yellow" used in their Post-It notes. If you have a certain color combination that is distinctly yours, you can trademark it and collect royalties if anyone else wants to ever use that specific shade.
Also, Cadbury has the shade of purple on its wrappers trademarked and Tiffany's has the blue on it's packaging trademarked. I even remember a celebrity who had to get special permission from Tiffany's to use the color on their wedding cake.
Trademark is not used to protect inventions, it's used to protect things associated with a brand. Michigan didn't invent the letter M or block lettering, but they can still trademark the block M.
And, yes, you can trademark a color. Tony the Tiger Orange is a trademarked color and I learned about that one 10 years ago. Generally, trademarks are industry-specific. The idea behind a trademark is not to prevent others from using the color, but to prevent competitors from using your trademarked item to compete with you. In the case of Nike, they put time and money into developing jerseys for Michigan. If a competitor can come in and offer replica jerseys for half the cost without going through the design process that Nike went through, then that is a disadvantage to Nike.
That said, I agree that trademarking a color is beyond ridiculous. If anyone is able to trademark it, it should be Michigan because the color is associated with the brand. However, that's not how it works in the legal system.
notwithstanding, try proving that a color is exactly, and I mean exactly the same as another color. I did read the link, I just don't think it says what everybody else does.
You ever heard of Pantone?
As a technology attorney who dabbles on patent/trademark issues, I'm with the other guys. You absolutely can trademark a color. Colors aren't that abstract; there's a reason Home Depot can reproduce the same tint in any can of paint on demand. It isn't that Nike can prevent ANYONE from using that color; it's that they can prevent its use in similar contexts (such as in Michigan-related merchandise). It's pretty standard stuff.
who dabbles in many things that i consider to be ridiculous, I say I hope Nike likes an annoyed Judge looking down at them with a "you can't be serious" look on his face why Nike tries to plead its case that they in deed own the color yellow. Michigan/Adidas can splash a miniscule, wholly irrelevant hint of some other kind of yellow into a bucket, throw it on their uniforms and say "this is not Varisty-Maize, this is Awesome-Maize."
I guess Illinois and Clemson are going to have to duke it out for ownership rights to orange. And don't even get me started on Northwestern and TCU.
IANAL, but I do know that the courts prevented a fashion company from trademarking red soles for women's shoes. Given that, I find it difficult to believe that a decent lawyer couldn't convince a court that a particular shade of yellow is the exclusive property of Nike, even as it relates solely to Michigan athletics.
I just looked up that case and it was overturned on appeal in September. Essentially, they ruled that the company being sued could make shoes with red soles if the whole shoe was red, but could not make shoes with only red soles.
Home Depot orange is tradmarked as well as Target red.
You can claim it, but how can you enforce it?
Target's website has 3 different shades of red...including two different ones for their logo alone-
Look at their header, logo, and flyer.
And how is that different from Kmart red or Meijer red?
Trademarked color, similar industry (it's not like Post It protecting their yellow by saying a car can't be painted that color), yet there's nothing there. It's a game to keep trademark lawyers in business. And scare off the little guys. Because these are companies that could afford the lawsuit...yet they're all basically using the same color.
In Nike's case they'd have a hard time in court trying to prove they "developed" Michigan yellow because Michigan yellow existed before we had a contract with Nike. So they can claim they own the name because they put a TM on it, but they're not going to win saying they "own a color."
Frankly we could solve all this by going back to actual maize. The kind we were wearing before anyone paid Nike a dime. They're the ones that turned it brighter.
Yes, and the specific colorway is "Varsity Maize." Nike also uses "Goldenrod" for Iowa and "Del Sol" for the LA Lakers.
I too wish to see a return to the swoosh. I like Adidas, but only when it comes to soccer (you know, the 'other' football) gear and accessories. Nike apparel just looked better, IMO, when watching various M teams on the field of play. For better or worse, I will always associate the '97 football team with those Nike uniforms.
I'm no expert on legalities but doesn't the idea of trademarking a color really boil down to naming the color? There is a subjective element to identifying and naming colors that does seem to involve some honest work. And when you start carefully examing colors, it becomes apparent that there are almost infinite possibilities.
Just take a look at paint colors. It gets mind-blowing pretty quickly. If for example Sherwin-Williams comes up with a shade and they call it "Nantucket Seaside" then it's not just the literal color (in the scientific sense of hues, saturations, etc) at stake but also the emotional imagery associated with the name of that color. There's nothing stopping another company, Pratt & Lambert for example, from literally copying the formula of the color but it'd be difficult for them to recreate the emotional element involved in the naming of the color.
It can seem silly at times but there are good reasons for companies to stake out legal claims for the work they've done.
Rumor goes that Nike has "Maize" trademarked. Some disagree with this saying you can't copyright a color. I dunno, but color did seem to get lighter with the change, It has been getting lighter over the years, I heard to make it look better on camera, though I don't have a source.
Copyright and trademark are two different things. Frankly, I don't believe this is true ... maybe Nike could have a trademark on the name "Maize" associated with athletic apparel, but I don't think they can get a trademark on the appearance of the color maize -- this could be why addidas calls it something else. It is still absurd, though, and if true it is definitely a fuck-up by whoever negotiated the Nike contract long ago if Nike has the right to block Michigan from letting a third party vendor use the name "Maize."
But it's true. They have a trademark on "maize" (though I don't know what they actually call it). I don't have time to find a link, but this was pretty well established around here several years ago, after the switch to Adidas.
at the color of the book 3 and Out. That is adidas and that it pretty damn close to the previous "maize" type color that everybody is referring to. Adidas has change the color of the uniform since they have gotten a hold of it, but not due to the lack of ability to use a color similar or identical to the color used in the Nike years.
See my reply just above--it's "Varsity Maize."
True, but your uniform supplier doesn't have the final word on which uni's you wear on Saturday. That's on the AD.
See other Nike schools Penn State, Alabama, USC, Texas, and Oklahoma for further clarification.
why i dont think a switch to nike will change the uniform carousal as long as dave brandon is the AD.
Yeah. That doesn't make me feel any better.
I don't think the apparel companies (Nike, Adidas) have anything to do with helmets.
Agreed. A few million seems like a pretty small number though... if we're talkin legit reparations for the shitty conditions those people are forced to work in. Its hard to imagine Nike not having these same issues in the future; cheap foreign labor is the name of they're game if I'm not mistaken.
In the 80s and 90s it was Nike that had the terrible rep for poorly paid workers.
Actually, the exact same reason schools are leaving Adidas has happened to Nike in the past 5 years, they just decided it was worth paying a couple million dollars to settle with the factory workers than have a bunch of schools drop them publicly.
Seems like a pretty easy decision when it comes out the other side like this.
Nike used the same factory and has paid the workers so in this case adidas is worse. There are also groups working to try to get the university to drop adidas over this so upset sports fans are not alone at the hate of adidas.
I definitely remember articles in the Daily and protests from some of the lefty groups on campus over Nike's labor practices. It was also part of the reason we switched to Pepsi from Coke in the campus vending machines, labor issues with the company.
Can we organize a group of fans to sue them for producing shitty looking uniforms?
I'll join that class action.
Incredible machines, ugly cars.
They were who we thought they were.
until I thought about it and realized you were absolutely right.
BMW and Mercedes disagree with you and actually so do I. But to each their own I suppose.
I drive a 2011 535i. After dealing with the "Bangle Butt" I now have to endure the over-inflated kidney grill. The new "4 Series" coupe looks like it is going to be pretty nice, though.
is a beautiful car.
I'm sorry, but BMWs and Mercedes look a whole hell of a lot better than anything Lexus, Infiniti, or Acura are producing these days.
BMW has gotten soft. The balance of sport/luxury has tipped too far to the luxury side.
My next car will be an A3, or, if I can afford it, an S3. Audi is making moves.
Mary Sue wrote a letter to Adidas about this. The Michigan Daily wrote a story about it. Can't post the link right now but I can dig it up later.
I'm guessing the first one?
/bored at work
if you guys think the clown costumes would go away if we switched back to nike...well, i wouldn't get my hopes up.
i'll bet you a genuine replica under the lights throwback legends jersey that we'd see some of the same kinds of crapola with anyone else.
We have a lot of "traditionalists" here. It makes me wonder what younger people actually think about the uniforms. Do the players like them? Do they look forward to having a special uniform for big games?
The most important people to ask might be high school kids. Do recruits like the current uniforms? If so, is it one of the subtle determining factors in a recruit's decision to attend any school? Would the lack of incandescent uniforms for big games make a recruit see a school as "boring?"
I would hope the uniforms don't make a bit of difference in recruiting, but the iconic helmet has been cited as at least a minor factor a few times over the years. The cautionary note here is that too many uniform changes could adversely affect brand recognition among young players who will eventually be faxing in LOI's to various schools.
I would like to see a return to a more traditional look myself. I have a feeling it isn't going to happen.
Holy crap, are none of you parents? Have all of you forgotten what congenital idiots you all were when you were that age? Why should we allow the portion of the population that is most easily swayed by whatever shiny new stupidity that's come along in the last 15 minutes make decisions like this? Considering what kids were all wearing in 1969 and the early '70s, thank god Bo didn't let his players back then have any input on what the uniforms should look like.
17- and 18-year old kids are the LAST people whose opinions ought to be solicited. Any potential recruit who would refuse a Michigan scholarship offer solely because of the lack of new uniformz is better suited to another school.
When I was 17 I thought 7 year olds were stupid. I'm 27 now and I think 17 year olds are stupid. When I'm 37 I'm sure I will think I was a stupid 27 year old. My question is when does it stop? My guess is it doesn't. Also I've convinced my 16 year old nephew that Michigan should never change their uniforms, ever. He is very impressionable, they all are.
As a KSU grad I see both sides. Snyder refuses to change the uni and hasn't in many....many years. I have heard stories of recruits talking about it and part of me wishes they would do an alternate every once in a while for the recruits. However, during the press conference yesterday for the Fiesta bowl a KSU player was asked about Oregons unis and his reply was "we are rolling out a new uni tomorrow too, it is going to have a Fiesta Bowl patch on it"
The think that I don't get is that Michigan is the client and should have to approve the jerseys before production in mass amount. How could the brass at Michigan ever approve some of the past jerseys, especially those for the Outback Bowl (maize numbers on white?).
Michigan as the clients should be able to say this is what we want and Adidas should comply with what we want if they want the Michigan contract again.
How could the brass at Michigan ever approve some of the past jerseys, especially those for the Outback Bowl (maize numbers on white?).
You think Dave Brandon DIDN'T approve them?
Are you not wowed?
I believe the proper spelling is "WOWed"
1. The adidas contract gives Michigan the right to refuse any proposed uniform design.
2. Nike refused to agree to such a provision during the 2007 negotiations.
Since going to Adidas I think we are something like 34-29. That includes two losing seasons in 08-09. A blow out bowl loss to Miss St in '10. A victory over ohio and a Sugar Bowl win in '11. A win in over Sparty and a close loss to SC this year.
Thats a total of 1 win apiece against Ohio and Sparty. One bcs appearance. My point? We have more alternate jerseys than bowl wins. I blame all losses on Adidas. Bring back Nike, asap.
Well you totally missed the boat on my comment. I was basically stating that we've been an awful football team since Adidas sponsored us. I wasnt really complaining about alternate jerseys, just merely stating facts. If thats the most ignorant comment youve ever seen, then you must not read this blog too often.
Lol no, just being sarcastic. I do wish theyd bring back Nike, though. Just my personal preference.
You're right. Had we stayed with Nike, Rich Rod would have been awesome here!
...but we'll just never really know.
Your objectivity is questionable.
Forgot Ohio State and their alternate uniforms against us 3 of the last 4 years.
Sparty was only provided one alternate from Nike, the green/black/bronze/whatever Pro Combats two years ago. Last year was just a helmet which I didn't think was provided by Nike (or Adidas in this case). Do you know something we don't since you work there?
maybe thats the reason the workers in asia left the numbers off of our bowl jerseys
I don't know what Nike's standards are now, but when I was a student in the 90s there were some students protesting against Nike's labor conditions at games.
I really don't care which company makes the gear so long as it isn't ugly and fits the players.
I really don't mind Aididas. I used to be a huge Nike fan too...but the Adidas brand has improved a ton...imo.
Above is the link to the actual filing in Dane County from back in July.
In a nutshell, the primary issue, if I understand this correctly, is that the Adidas contract with Wisconsin has a Labor Code Of Conduct which calls for Adidas to comply with all "applicable legal requirements" in the country of manufacture with regards to workers, worker safety, and so forth. One interesting note in here is that the suit mentions that Adidas is the only manufacturer who employed this factory that has not contributed towards the benefits mandated by the Indonesian government.
It's entirely on him, and the idiots advising him.
This is correct. The OP raised a legitimate and concerning issue. However, it is entirely distinct from from the "Brandon's clown costume of the week" issue. He would probably have Brooks Brothers dress the players like clowns if they had the contract. I think Oregon would have been ashamed to wear something as tacky as the Alamo Bowl ensemble.
if only because then my Nike UM hockey and football jerseys in my closet would match up better with the products the players are wearing on the field. But really, we're likely to run in to labor issues no matter who we use. Maybe Under Armour? I haven't heard anything bad about them in terms of labor ever (but its not like I go and spend time looking up stuff on this issue either)
I would love under armour. I know they have some out there uniforms, I'm looking at you Maryland, but Auburn, Boston College and Temple all have extremely classy uniforms for football, and the basketball stuff all looks about the same to me
My biggest gripe with the jerseys is that they look like they fit like crap. The uniform around the shoulder pads is way too tight. The numbers fold and get skewed. Having watched most of the bowl season, it's the same with all of their jerseys, not just UM. FSU looked nice and crisp. Florida, despite playing pretty bad, looked good.
I like the normal Adidas home and away jerseys. I hated what we wore in the bowl game. I prefer Adidas over Nike in my life but I roll with whoever Michigan rolls with...as long as it's not under armour.
Go back to Nike. I'd even take Under Armour over Adidas.
...with respect to the sweatshop issue but it does beg the question of why these companies even need to use such cheap labor? With all the money pouring into college sports via the TV contracts, you'd think that a school like Michigan would pay the extra money for American made products (or even better yet, Michigan made products).
Dave Brandon will stop with the alternate jerseys once you buy a regular jersey every time they don't change.
I don't know if the alternate uni's would be better or worse if we went back to Nike.
I know the internet can lie when it comes to colors, and I'm just going off of Google Images, but...
to me doesn't look that different than Henne:
who doesn't look that different than Denard:
What does actually look different is Desmond, three years before the Nike contract got signed:
(and I picked a more "yellowey" picture for Desmond, several were much more "orangy".)
Just to add onto this, I really don't think the football uniforms have changed that much, especially in what we call maize, and I don't think the biggest factor is Nike or Adidas, it's the advent of HD cameras where the brighter colors look better on film. The real change has come in the basketball uniforms and maybe hockey, which I think is a completely different topic.
justingoblue notwithstanding, how many times does this Board have to go through the same old histories?
- Yes, Michigan's 'highlighter' maize is a lot different from the yellowish corn-colored maize from the 50's, 60's and 70's. And even more so, from the tannish gold of the leather helmet era that preceded.
- No, there was no sudden change from Nike to adidas in Michigan's pantone color choices. Yes, Nike did trademark something that they called "Varsity Maize." But that trademarking has had no dramatic effect on the appearance of Michigan-licensed and team-worn uniforms. The progress from "old maize" to "highlighter" has been gradual and steady. It began before Michigan's Nike contract and has continued since, into and through the adidas contract.
- My own theory (I'd very much like to ask Bruce Madej, who would be in perhaps the best position to know) is that the modern 'highlighter' maize is a color that photographs better and shows up more dramatically on television. No one has ever disproven that theory. I'd also happily agree that the modern 'highlighter' maize is more dramatic, more modern, more contrast-y with our dark blue, and generally falls within the meme of 'always something new' for modern merchandise sales. All of those things I'd agree with.
- But back to photography and television. I believe that it is possible to show the differences that I have described above in a photographic chronology that justingoblue has tried to do. However, it is tricky. Photography and television really do distort color reproduction. But I recall our host and proprietor Brian Cook posting a photo of game-worn helmets from about 25 years apart, in a single photo image, and you could clearly see the difference. So year there's that. There is also the collective memories of everybody who has seen with their own eyes the progression of uniform colors and it clearly has been a gradual progression, over many years.
- So there is simply no plausible basis to blame Nike or adidas for any sudden changes because there haven't been any sudden changes. Changes; yes of course. Sudden changes due to trademarking concerns; no.
Thanks to justingoblue for again raising the issue of a photo chronology through the relevant periods.
Brian Cook's MGoContent from ten months ago:
And with another hat tip to Brian for the link, here's MVictors with a dandy explanation of how things photograph. To put a reeeeaally fine point on it, I disagree with justingoblue that the uniforms appear different because television is now so much more hi-def; and I also disagree if indeed MVictors is trying to tell us that adidas suddenly jumped to a more hyper-highlighter yellow. As I have said, the progression to a more intense highlighter yeellow has been steady -- it started before Nike, and has continued since and through the adidas era. Yes, it's brighter than ever now.
what I was trying to get across is that choosing between "highlighter" and "orangish" tints of maize seems to be an easy choice judging purely from aesthetic value on camera, at least to the extent that football has highlighter as a color. The question I'd like to see answered, and it sounds like you do as well, is whether the lessened contrast is worth having a more unique Michigan quality to the uniforms, since I can't think of any other uniform with a similar color scheme.
That would probably mean seeing a modern version of a Bo or pre-Bo era color scheme, which would definitely be cool to see. All that said, for now I'm happy with the football colors; basketball has gone too far and hockey is right on the edge.
I think I'd be willing to bet that the colors themselves on the current uniforms of the Michigan revenue-producing sports (and others) are all the same, but that basketball looks strange to our eyes because of the venue (indoors at Crisler) and mostly because of the fact that basketball features the only all-maize (or predominant maize) kit.
And justin; like you, I am actually satisfied with "highlighter Maize." It is, in my unquantified view, unique to Michigan. What do you call that highlighter color? Maize, of course. And yes I think we all agree; it photographs better and it televises better. It is "high-definitely" more 21st century. It is the one and only nice way that Michigan's iconic uniforms could have been improved in the modern era.
btw; do all of the MGoBoard readers realize that Michigan changed The Banner this past year? It was brand new; using an identical old font but with a rejuvenated highlighter maize color and a fresher blue background.
I would go with Nike for the sole reason that they seem so much more involved in recruits lives from little on. When I go to the gym, Nike is everywhere. If I go to the park to play some pick up ball 85% of the kids wear Nike. I know it seems like a flawed theory with little to no substantial evidence but I really just feel that there is almost a cool confidence with Nike. You may like their products, or you may feel we are better suited with adidas, but the undeniable truth is that I guarenshead that if we polled the majority of incoming recruits they would prefer Nike. To hs the program sells itself. During or after college most people tend to ease off on name brand concern, but everyone can remember that when we were first entering school, clothes and brands did seem to matter for the majority. Adidas clothing is fine (although I do not feel like they market Michigan well enough) but for some silly reason I just see more enthusiasm and hype over Nike.
I find it funny Roy Roundtree posted a pic on Instagram of the new Nike cleats he just bought. Now why would a player who prob has 20 pairs of cleats go out and buy new ones?
Kinda like how after my last purdue track meet i bought a new pair of Asics because Nike blows in the running market (ironic since the founders Phil knight and bill bowerman were an Oregon distance runner and track coach). Each company has their strengths. Nike is strong in football and basketball, addidas in soccer, reebok in hockey.
I wore Nike cleats for both track and football and they suited me just fine... Sure some preferred Asics, New Balance, Saucony, Adidas, etc... but I never had a single complaint about the Nike product... I also find that the quality of Nike's compression gear is far superior to Under Armour or Adidas. Just my 2 cents.
Nike trainers fell apart so easily for me. I also hated their fit. My Asics and Brooks trainers and marathon racers last with great quality through out the standard 500 mile shoe lifetime. I also had injury issues in high school whenever I used Nike trainers.
I hate compression gear. I must be the last runner that sticks to running in a hoody and running tights during winter. I find it too restrictive.
I find that the compression gear is good for sweat and cooling down... cotton feels better, but once the sweat comes the compression gear is much better... I was hesitant to use it at first, but when I got used to it, I never looked back.
I'm still wearing my NU Adidas baseball cleats from 2004 and NU football cleats from 2006. I play about 30 baseball games a year (plus the 60 in 2004 and all practices) and a dozen 7-7 games.
They have held up admirably well. I wonder if the quality has gone down in more recent production years.
That's not on Adidas, thats on our equipment guys. Adidas makes cleats of different lengths/traction levels. If our equipment guys chose not to use them then thats their fault, not Adidas.
What would you say to Under Armour?
A buddy of mine works for them and says they'll be making a big-time push for the next contract
I'd take Under Armour over Nike. Just the UA logo will make the stuff popular with kids and their stuff really is made well...but no UniformZ
I just want the parade of alternate jerseys to end where it is. Walking around the concourse of Raymond James before the Outback Bowl I counted Michigan fans wearing 6 different jerseys. So much for brand consistency.
Just so we are clear, Dave Brandon does not choose which jerseys we wear. Per the AD announcement back in August (too lazy to go find the link), there can be three jerseys/year:
1) Special in-season jersey for one game 2) Regular jerseys for the rest of the games 3) Bowl game jersey, if the coaches choose
The key here is the coaches choose whether or not to do it, not Dave Brandon. The AD believes that the coaches are best in tune with our players and recruits and thus will decide what jerseys, when, etc. So instead of focusing all of your anger at DB, direct it at the coaches or Adidas or Mary Sue Coleman. The AD decided we can have 3 jerseys/year, the coaches decide which of those to wear. They dont have to choose any.
That being said I hate the jerseys we just wore, I am not a fan of Adidas and I would like for all this nonsense to stop. I believe that the ultimate authority on this subject is DB, but the actual choices are made by the coaches.
Is anybody else bothered that a situation which involves thousands of workers being screwed by a company turned into a discussion about uniform quality and choice? These are people who are possibly having their lives destroyed and we are talking about how we can avoid wearing two different kinds of uniforms, sometimes sports discussions should take a back seat.
No. This is Michigan Football