Nike put a stop to Max Verstappen’s ‘Max 1’ clothing brand

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Max Verstappen during qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix. Marina Bay, October 2022.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen during qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix. Marina Bay, October 2022.

Max Verstappen has hit some opposition in the form of apparel giant Nike as he looks to delve into the clothing world.

The Dutchman’s on-track activities in Formula 1 are currently taking him to continuously greater heights. Already a two-time World Champion, Red Bull’s dominant start to the F1 2023 campaign has made Verstappen the overwhelming favourite to make it three in a row this season.

And with his Red Bull contract running until the end of 2028, Verstappen’s Formula 1 endeavours will continue to be the centrepiece of his career for many more years to come.

However, having suggested that he wants to leave Formula 1 for other racing challenges after that, even though he will have only just moved into his 30s by that time, Verstappen already is giving great focus to his life outside of Formula 1.

That is not only in relation to racing either as it would seem Verstappen also wants to launch his own clothing brand.

The plan was to call it ‘Max 1’, though De Limburger reported that Nike have taken issue with that name as they believe it is too similar to their Nike: Air Max shoe range.

And the region’s trademark agency, The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP), has issued a report that confirms its investigation and opposition from Nike, with the reasons why a roadblock has been put in front of Verstappen’s plans.

As well as suggestions that the similarity of the names could lead to confusion for the public, who may assume there is an affiliation between the brands, the styling also appears to be an issue. recommends

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The report states: “Both signs contain the word MAX, albeit in a different place. In the trademarks invoked, the elements AIR and MAX have equal weight in the overall impression. In the contested sign, the emphasis is on the word MAX. The number 1 will be regarded as a specification of MAX. To that extent the signs agree.

“The goods in question (Nike and Max) are partly identical and partly similar. Visually and aurally, there is a certain degree of similarity between the signs.

“Based on these and the other factors mentioned above and given their interdependence, the Office considers that there is a likelihood of confusion in the sense that the public may believe that the goods covered by the trade marks invoked and those of the contested sign belong to the same undertaking or, as the case may be, from economically linked companies.

“Since it is common practice in the clothing sector for the same mark to be configured in different ways, the relevant public might also think that the contested sign is a sub-mark of the opponent (Nike).”

You can read the full report here.

While Verstappen sets about finding a new route to getting his clothing brand off the ground, he also seemingly has opposition to his World title quests in Formula 1 in the form of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.

The Mexican racer is yet to sustain a challenge against Verstappen across a season, but his impressive performance in Saudi Arabia suggested that could be about to change as he kept Verstappen comfortably at bay on his way to victory, thus sending quite the warning shot.

Verstappen did at least snatch the fastest lap bonus point from Perez, meaning he goes into the Australian GP with a one-point lead over his team-mate.