Nike is suing MSCHF for trade mark infringement after their collaboration with Lil Nas X over their ‘Satan Shoe’, on a pair of Nike Air Max 97s. For context, the trainers picture a reference to Bible passage Luke 10:18, an inverted cross, and more. The shoes held the price tag of $1,018, and all available 666 pairs sold out less than a minute into launch. The shoes were also a source for promoting the pop star’s new single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”.
Understandably, Nike was not pleased with the release. A statement by the shoe giant reiterated that the company holds no relationship with Lil Nas or art collective MSCHF. Nike’s trade mark logo is one of the most recognised throughout the world, inferring that the goods originated from the company itself. There is a risk that their brand could be harmed and their reputation damaged, due to MSCHF’s sale of the modified Nike goods.
In their lawsuit, Nike requested that MSCHF be ordered to “permanently stop” fulfilling orders for the unauthorised shoes. Further, the suit stated that in the short period since the release of the shoes, Nike has suffered harm to its goodwill and caused confusion amongst consumers. Back in 2019, MSCHF also modified a pair of Nike’s trainers called the “Jesus Shoes”, however, no action was taken. Nike’s argument holds a large degree of merit and the likelihood of consumer association of the Satan Shoe with Nike will aid their case by demonstrating the negative impact on their reputation, through the incorporation of the famous Swoosh.
Update: Nike has successfully prevented MSCHF from fulfilling any more orders, with Lil Nas tweeting that he is not legally allowed to sell the 666th pair. He also added that he is upset over the power which Nike holds, stating that “freedom of expression has gone out of the window”.
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