Sega Settles in Nike Copycat Ad Suit

15 April 2002

Video game firm Sega has settled a lawsuit filed by Nike against it and its ad agency Leagas Delaney (San Francisco) for copying a TV commercial.

The sportswear giant accused Leagas of replicating almost scene-by-scene a 1996 Nike ad from Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Oregon, featuring Michael Jordan preparing for a slam dunk in slow motion. The suit alleged infringement of copyright and unfair competition.

Under the settlement, Sega issued an apology and will give $100,000 on behalf of Nike to Boys & Girls Clubs in Memphis, Tennessee, and Portland, Oregon. It will also withdraw the offending ad, which backed its Sega Sports NBA 2K2 game.

The sporting colossus declared it “wanted to put a line in the sand” regarding the use of its ads, saying that many agencies copy Nike spots while claiming to be parodying or paying homage to the originals – the excuse used by Leagas Delaney in the Sega row.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff