HONOLULU, Hawaii — Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers are about to become one of the most talked about footwear of the year.
But while the shoes’ launch could be a blockbuster for the company, it’s also a cautionary tale for consumers.
In a press release on Thursday, Nike announced that the company has been ordered to stop producing the Air Jordan 4, the first shoe to come out of the Jordan brand since the release of the first Nike Air Jordans in 1996.
Nike says the shoe was sold through an unauthorized distributor and the shoes were sent to China, where they were later sold by unauthorized distributors, and it was distributed to China and Taiwan.
While Nike’s lawyers say the company did not intend to violate any laws or regulations, it says it is being forced to stop production because of the unauthorized sales.
“Nike is being sued for infringing on its trademark by the unauthorized distributor, but the company’s decision to stop its production of the Air Jordas was a calculated risk to consumers,” said David Fenton, an attorney with Jenner & Cheung who represents Nike.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Hawaii on April 3.
Although Nike initially did not respond to questions from ABC News, the company issued a statement on Friday saying that it is “aware of the situation and is working with its legal counsel to address it.”
“We will continue to work with all parties involved in order to determine the next course of action,” the statement said.
If Nike were to comply with the lawsuit, it could be the first time that a major sports shoe maker has faced a lawsuit related to unauthorized sales of its footwear.
Before Nike’s shoes were made, many of the shoes in its line had been made by Nike’s own footwear line.
Some of the original Air Jordys that were sold were made by Nikes sole supplier, NikeLab, and sold through a subsidiary called Nike+ that was created in 1997.
According to a lawsuit filed in September 2010 by Nars cosmetics, Nike’s parent company, Adidas, also made some of the sneakers, but it has not acknowledged making them.
When Adidas sued Nars over unauthorized sales, Nike claimed that Adidas’ sole supplier was an unauthorized reseller.
Nars eventually agreed to pay $100 million in damages.