Nike works fast but the Dark Lord works faster. Earlier this week, Lil Nas X dropped his “Satan shoe,” a modified Nike Air Max 97 with a drop of human blood in the sole distributed by the streetwear company MSCHF. Nike was quick to say “NOT TODAY, YOU KNOW WHO!” and slapped MSCHF with a lawsuit. The shoes, of course, sold out in under a minute save pair 666/666 which was held out as a prize. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Nike has won its first battle and a judge has issued a temporary restraining order barring the further sale or shipment of any more “Satan shoes,” or as they’re more commonly known, just some damn shoes.
A federal judge has swooped in to stop Lil Nas X’s limited edition satanic-themed Air Max 97 shoes from being sold. Or at least, whatever has not already been shipped.
Earlier this week, after Lil Nas X introduced a shoe that may contain actual human blood, Nike filed a trademark lawsuit against MSCHF Product Studio, the New York-based design company the rapper partnered with to launch the shoes. Nike then followed up with a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. In its suit, the shoe giant claims that the Satanic association will dilute its famous marks.
In court, Nike asserted that regular old God-fearing, Satan-shunning customers had been duped into thinking that Nike is down with the devil like that, and that “the general consumership is boycotting Nike because it thinks that Nike is associated with this shoe,” stating “we have submitted numerous evidence that some consumers are saying they will never buy Nike shoes ever again.” MSCHF, on the other hand, argued that those customers are dumb (basically).
In a letter to the judge late yesterday, MSCHF’s attorneys at the high-powered law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton argue that these 666 pairs of shoes are “not typical sneakers, but rather individually-numbered works of art that were sold to collectors for $1,018 each.”
MSCHF asserts that just like an earlier limited-edition of Jesus Shoes, these will be displayed in artistic collections, perhaps in museums. (In court papers, Nike has left open the possibility of amending its complaint to include a claim over Jesus Shoes too.) It further contends that confusion isn’t likely given the sophistication of purchasers.
MSCHF also says that all but one of the shoes have already gone out. “There’s no basis for a recall,” the judge was told. “They are not doing this for money. It’s about the message.”
Nike responds that MSCHF is trying to build a brand, that the shoes are being sold on the secondary market, and that celebrities like Miley Cyrus have gotten involved. Nike also suspects that some of the shoes may have been shipped after the lawsuit was filed.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Komitee ruled that Nike has made a showing sufficient for a temporary restraining order. A hearing to consider a longer-lasting preliminary injunctive will follow but the judge says that Nike has shown a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of its trademark claims. Nike’s request for relief is granted, although some clarity on the scope of the TRO may come from a written order to soon be issued.
Complex adds that in addition to halting all sales (of the already sold-out shoe), Nike has asked that the remaining shoe(s) and “everything related to the style to be destroyed.” You heard that Miley Cyrus, NIKE WILL DESTROY YOU!!!