The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear Jacobus 'Co' Willem Rentmeester's copyright case involving the Nike 'Jumpman' logo, the high court has announced. The reason for the court's decision remains unclear, but it leaves in place the 2018 ruling by an appeals court that found Nike hadn't infringed upon Rentmeester's image copyright with its iconic 'Jumpman' logo.

The legal matter began in 2015 when Rentmeester filed a copyright lawsuit against Nike over its 'Jumpman' logo featuring a silhouette of athlete Michael Jordan. The logo was based on an image of Michael Jordan produced by Nike in 1985, which was itself allegedly based on an image Rentmeester took of Jordan as a freelancer for Time Magazine. The two images, while expressing the same idea, are different.

Nike had originally paid Rentmeester $150 to license two of his 35mm transparencies featuring Jordan. Following that, the company paid Rentmeester $15,000 for a two-year license to use its own image based on the one Rentmeester took after he threatened litigation. In 1987, Nike then created the Jumpan silhouette logo based on its Michael Jordan image and it has used that logo in the years since.

Rentmeester's January 2015 copyright infringement lawsuit was rejected by a federal court in Portland, Oregon, in June 2015. According to that court, Nike's image presented a different expression of the idea behind the two images and copyright law only protects the expression of ideas.

The legal spat went to an appeals court, which ruled in 2018 that Nike's image didn't infringe upon the protected expression in Rentmeester's image. The appeals court stated that the subject's pose cannot be copyrighted, which would prevent other photographers from taking images of the person striking the same pose. Elements like shutter speed, camera angle, and timing all contribute to the expression of the idea in Rentmeester's image, the court said.