Nike Inc. has been handed another win.
On Monday, the United States Supreme Court rejected an appeal from photographer Jacobus Rentmeester, who claimed that the sportswear giant infringed a copyrighted image of Michael Jordan to create its iconic “Jumpman” logo.
The photo in question was taken in 1984 and shot for Life magazine, when Rentmeester was still a student at the University of North Carolina. It shows Jordan with his legs stretched wide, the ball cupped in his left hand as he attempts to dunk on an outdoor basket. The legendary NBA star was pictured in a U.S. Olympic team uniform and Converse sneakers.
The Nike image, on the other hand, featured Jordan in his red and black Chicago Bulls team uniform, set against the backdrop of the city’s skyline.
Here are the photos, Rentmeester left, Nike Right.
Basically, courts (not the SC, which doesn’t explain cert denials) said pose/angle are protect-able, but since idea of Jordan dunking are not, would have had to be “virtually identical.” Cited slight dif in limb angles, etc. pic.twitter.com/q0Vu4t5tDG
— Kyle Jahner (@kylejahner) March 25, 2019
In the petition, Rentmeester said he conceived, directed and shot a “never-before-used pose — inspired by ballet — to generate Jordan’s appearance of weightlessness and