Nike takes legal action against Drip Creationz custom sneakers for infringement
Recently, Nike took a more aggressive approach to protecting its brands and intellectual property, taking legal action against MSCHF for the company’s’ Satan ‘inspired Lil’ Nas X sneakers, doing the same with designer Warren. Lotas for his Dunks imitation, and securing a trademark for the Air Jordan 1 in the wake of the growing number of brands producing counterfeit versions with altered logos. According to The Fashion Law, Nike’s next move could be the complete shutdown of Nike product customizers, starting with a legal battle against Drip Creationz.
Documents obtained by TFL confirm that Nike filed a lawsuit against Customs By Ilene, Inc., or Drip Creationz, in federal court on Monday, alleging trademark infringement and dilution, as well as infringement. In the lawsuit, Nike alleges that Drip Creationz sells counterfeit Nike products, including “counterfeit Air Force 1 style shoes”, which infringe its trademark and iconic Swoosh logo. They also note poor craftsmanship, pointing out that the shoes have “crooked proportions, messy stitching, cheap details and [are] larger than real Air Force 1 shoes.
The lawsuit suggests that Drop Creationz deconstruct the authentic Air Force 1s before replacing and / or adding new hardware. Nike claims the company’s shoes have been materially altered in a way it has never approved or authorized. In addition, they refer to unapproved colorways and images on company customs, citing, among others, pairs of Burberry, Cheetos and Travis Scott Astroworld graphics that could potentially confuse the market and interfere with its ability “to choose with whom it collaborates, with what colors it publishes, and what message its designs convey. Drip Creationz also offers its “own” sneaker called D1, an Air Force 1-inspired design that sells for between $ 100 and $ 120.
Anticipating that some will see this as an attack on the ‘little guy’, Nike states that “it has no desire to limit the individual expression of designers and artisans, many of whom are among Nike’s biggest fans.” However, he also says he “cannot allow ‘customizers’ like Drip Creationz to build a business on the back of its most iconic brands, undermining the value of those brands and the message they convey to consumers.” . The brand’s position is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish authorized Nike products from unauthorized customs.
The irony here is that Nike and Virgil Abloh recently unveiled a Louis Vuitton x Air Force 1 collection directly inspired by the unauthorized uses popularized in the 1980s. Featuring an all-over LV monogram and Damier Ebène prints, the shoes refer to pairs originally produced by Dapper Dan’s Boutique, based in Harlem. There are murky waters to navigate when you threaten and try to enjoy the “culture” at the same time.
For the reasons stated, Nike is seeking monetary damages in an amount to be determined at trial, as well as an injunction that would prevent Drop Creationz from selling products that further infringe its trademarks.