Nike has filed a lawsuit against MSCHF, the art collective that designed Lil Nas X’s “Satan shoes“, which went on sale Monday, March 29th.
In the lawsuit, obtained by Rolling Stone, Nike said the “Satan shoe” was made without the company’s “approval or authorization.” It adds that the shoe is “likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike,” and that the shoe has already caused “significant harm to [Nike’s] goodwill, including among consumers who believe that Nike is endorsing satanism.”
Representatives for Nike and MSCHF did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment regarding the lawsuit. A representative for Lil Nas X also did not return a request for comment, though the musician is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
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The “Satan shoes” are unofficial redesigns of Nike’s trademark Air Max 97 sneaker, and the suit claims that despite the various modifications made to the shoe — including adding a mixture of red ink and a drop of human blood to midsole — the shoes “still prominently display the Nike Swoosh logo.” In reference to the drop of blood injected into the midsole, Nike also claims that “making changes to the midsole may pose safety risks for consumers.”
(Interestingly, one of MSCHF’s previous drops was a “Jesus Shoe,” which also also found them customizing Nike’s Air Max 97 sneakers, including adding holy water taken from the Jordan River to the soles. Nike did not file any lawsuit over those shoes.)
Nike is suing MSCHF for trademark infringement, false designation of origin and trademark dilution. It’s asking the court to force MSCHF to cease manufacturing, distributing, selling or promoting any products under Nike’s various trademarks, while it also wants a court to order that MSCHF “deliver to Nike for destruction any and all shoes, apparel, digital files, packaging, printed graphics, promotional materials, business cards, signs, labels, advertisements, flyers, circulars, and any other items in any of their possession, custody, or control bearing Nike’s Asserted Marks, any marks substantially indistinguishable therefrom, confusingly similar marks.”
Lil Nas X released the shoe with MSCHF as a tie-in to his Satanic-themed music video “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” The shoes, which are being sold in a limited-edition of 666 pairs, include a pentagram design, an inverted cross, a reference to Luke 10:18 (“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”), and actual human blood mixed into the red ink of the soles. The shoes are being sold at $1018 a pair, again in reference to the Bible verse.
“We do not have a relationship with Lil Nas or MSCHF,” a representative for Nike told Rolling Stone following the shoe’s original announcement. “Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them.”
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