Formula One star Max Verstappen has faced a setback in his plans to launch his own clothing line called “Max 1”. The Dutch driver, who is currently leading the 2023 championship with Red Bull, has been challenged by sportswear giant Nike, who claims that his brand name is too similar to their iconic “Air Max” shoes.

According to De Limburger, Nike has filed a complaint with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP), the trademark agency for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The agency has issued a report that supports Nike’s argument that there is a likelihood of confusion between the two brands.

The report states that both signs contain the word “Max”, albeit in a different place, and that the number “1” will be regarded as a specification of ‘Max’. It also says that the goods in question are partly identical and partly similar and that the public may believe that they belong to the same or economically linked companies.

The report adds that it is common practice in the clothing sector for the same mark to be configured in different ways and that the public might also think that “Max 1” is a sub-mark of Nike.

Verstappen has not commented on the issue yet, but he may have to rethink his branding strategy if he wants to pursue his clothing venture. The 25-year-old has already established himself as one of the most popular and successful drivers in Formula One, having won two consecutive titles in 2021 and 2022.

He is also on course to win his third title this year, as he has won both of the opening races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He leads his main rival Lewis Hamilton by 18 points ahead of the next race in Australia.

Verstappen has previously expressed his interest in exploring other racing challenges after his Formula One career, such as Le Mans or Dakar. He has also shown his passion for fashion by collaborating with G-Star Raw and TAG Heuer. However, he may have to find a new name for his own clothing line if he wants to avoid a legal battle with Nike.

MorioCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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