Lil Nas X and the art collective MSCHF Product Studio recently received significant social media backlash following their sale of 666 modified Nike shoes, named “Satan Shoes,” that include a drop of human blood in the midsoles.
As social media users announced intentions to boycott the shoe brand as a result of the Satan Shoes, Nike filed a lawsuit against MSCHF Product Studio, claiming trademark infringement due to likelihood of confusion.
Josh Gerben was quoted in CNN further discussing the intent behind the lawsuit and the purpose of the First Sale Doctrine:
“[The First Sale Doctrine is] a legal rationale that grants artists who purchase and repurpose individual copyrighted products the ability to express and profit off their own creativity. Nike shoe redesigners like MSCHF commonly sell their work on online marketplaces.”
“You’ve got all kinds of artists that go out there and they take a shoe and they’ll do a whole bunch of custom art on the shoe and maybe resell it for $1,000-3,000. This is something Nike is well aware of and has done absolutely nothing to mess with because there’s a sneaker culture here.”
“The problem for Lil Nas X and MSCHF in this case, is the hundreds of shoes that were sold, since individual works of art are easier to defend in court than items that have been mass produced.”
“People are thinking Nike’s behind something because there’s so many of these [shoes]. It’s not just a single piece of art that some artist took a shoe and made. It’s that someone took a whole bunch of Nike shoes, customized them the exact same way and is selling them to a point in such sophisticated fashion that people think Nike’s involved.”
Source: Alcorn, Chauncey. “Nike sues the maker of Lil Nas X ‘Satan Shoes’ for trademark infringement”. CNN.com. March 29 2021.