In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, festival organizers allege that the Adidas EQT Support ADV sneaker “diminished and continues to diminish the value of important licensing partnerships” of Art Basel, which is operated by MCH corporation of Switzerland.
According to the suit, the Art Basel name has been used internationally by MCH since 1999, boasting over 250 galleries across North American, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. In the filing, the Art Basel name is described as one of MCH’s “most valuable and important corporate assets.”
In its suit, MCH said that “at least 1,000 pairs” of the allegedly infringing sneakers were given away to journalists and attendees at the 2016 festival.
The suit goes on to claim that Adidas knew the limited-edition sneakers would end up reselling on secondary markets such as eBay. “Adidas knew or should have known that the presence of images of the Art Basel mark on the infringing sneakers posted on eBay advertisements would continue confusing and misleading of the public,” reads the filing.
According to the suit, MCH has suffered “irreparable and indivisible injury and harm” as a result of the sneakers, which it calls “unfairly competitive.”
Now, MCH is demanding that Adidas cease use of the Art Basel name and destroy any remaining pairs, as well as foot the bill for three times the amount all of damages caused by the infringement, which allegedly includes lost sales and business opportunities.
This isn’t the first time a brand has been faced with litigation after using a festival’s name without permission. In March, Urban Outfitters was sued by the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for using the Coachella name to sell clothing.