Update: Nike Settles Lawsuit With ‘Satan Shoes’ Creator MSCHF

Updated April 8: Nike said late today it settled its “Satan Shoes” lawsuit with MSCHF Product Studio Inc.

The Swoosh filed the trademark infringement lawsuit on March 29 after MSCHF created the shoes in collaboration with Lil Nas X.

The settlement includes a voluntary recall. MSCHF will offer full refunds to people who purchased both the “Satan Shoes” as well as its previously launched “Jesus Shoes” to “remove them from circulation,” Nike said.

Both styles are based on the Air Max 97.

“If any purchasers were confused, or if they otherwise want to return their shoes, they may do so for a full refund. Purchasers who choose not to return their shoes and later encounter a product issue, defect, or health concern should contact MSCHF, not Nike,” Nike said in a statement.

The “Satan Shoes” created a social media stir and the dispute was covered by major press from around the world.

“In both cases, MSCHF altered these shoes without Nike’s authorization. Nike had nothing to do with the Satan Shoes or the Jesus Shoes,” Nike said in its statement.

What We Reported Last Week: Nike Inc. appears to have a win over MSCHF Product Studio Inc., the creator of Lil Nas X’s controversial “Satan Shoes.”

According to a NBC News report today, a judge in the Eastern District of New York ruled that MSCHF must stop fulfilling “Satan Shoes” orders after Nike filed for a temporary restraining order Tuesday. The complaint asked the court to keep MSCHF from issuing orders, using any Nike work and referring to Nike’s logos.

Nike responded to FN’s request for comment via email statement: “The court issued a Temporary Restraining Order against MSCHF today. We don’t have any further details to share on pending legal matters.”

Yesterday, lawyers submitted a letter to the court on behalf of MSCHF Product Studio, Inc. in opposition to Nike’s application for a temporary restraining order.

“There is no imminent or immediate threat of irreparable harm related to the Satan Shoes. That is because, contrary to Nike’s speculation in its papers, all but one pair of the shoes already have been sold and shipped. MSCHF has no intention of issuing additional Satan Shoes. It had been planning a giveaway of the last pair of Satan Shoes on Friday, April 2, but has suspended that plan pending resolution of Nike’s application,” the letter reads.

It continued, “Nike cannot show a likelihood of success on the merits. MSCHF has made clear that the Satan Shoes are a collaboration with Lil Nas X, not with Nike, and Nike presents no evidence whatsoever of any confusion by purchasers. Such confusion is highly unlikely given the sophistication of the purchasers, who had to obtain the shoes through MSCHF’s proprietary app, and who are well aware of MSCHF’s approach to art, including its customization of consumer products as part of its expressive message.”

Lil Nas X poses with his custom Satan Shoes - said to contain a drop of human blood. The Old Town Road rapper released his own version of Nike’s classic Air Max ’97 sneakers, featuring the symbol “x/666,” red ink and a single drop of human blood. The $1,018 USD sneakers / trainers, made in collaboration with the company MSCHF, also have Bible scripture from Luke 10:18 emblazoned on them, referencing Satan’s banishment from heaven. The verse reads: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." They also feature a bronze pentagram and an inverted cross. But Nike have since made it clear that the shoe is nothing to do with them. “We do not have a relationship with Little Nas X or MSCHF,” Nike said in a statement. “Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them.” The hip-hop star, 21, real name Montero Lamar Hill, took to Twitter to defend the eye-catching shoes. “Y’all gotta admit… the shoes hard! u cannot sit here and lie," he wrote. The shoes are available via the MSCHF app. They have been launched as a limited-edition "drop" of 666 pairs. Each shoe's air bubble sole contains 60 cubic centimeters (2.03 fluid ounces) of red ink and "one drop" of human blood. A MSCHF spokesperson said the blood had been provided by members of the art collective, adding: "We love to sacrifice for our art." In 2019, the collective released limited edition "Jesus Shoes" - also made from Nike Air Max 97 sneakers - which featured a steel crucifix and "holy water" sourced from the Jordan River. Credit - Courtesy of MSCHF / MEGA. 29 Mar 2021 Pictured: Lil Nas X and the 'Satan Shoes'. Photo credit: Courtesy of MSCHF/MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342 (Mega Agency TagID: MEGA743018_014.jpg) [Photo via Mega Agency]
The custom MSCHF x Lil Nas X Nike Air Max 97 “Satan Shoes.”
After uproar on social media, Nike Inc. took action against MSCHF Product Studio Inc. on March 29. “Nike filed a trademark infringement and dilution complaint against MSCHF today to stop the release of the Satan Shoes,” the company said in a statement, reiterating that it does not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF. The statement continued, “The Satan Shoes were produced without Nike’s approval or authorization, and Nike is in no way connected with this project.”

MSCHF did not respond to FN’s request for comment.

The complaint was filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. It alleges trademark infringement and dilution, unfair competition and false designation of origin.

Saint, a sneaker and streetwear social media account, tweeted campaign imagery of the MSCHF x Lil Nas X Nike Air Max 97 “Satan Shoes” on March 26. The account shared that only 666 pairs would be released, that they contain actual human blood and would come with a $1,018 price tag.

After the shoes were revealed — and some social media users bashed Nike for the release — the athletic giant confirmed on March 28 that it had no part in the creation of the shoe. “Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them,” a spokesperson said.

Separately on March 28, Lil Nas X uploaded a YouTube video, which he said was an apology. However, the video only shows the rapper holding the shoe before cutting into scenes from his “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” music video. (The aforementioned music video is filled with demonic imagery.)

The rapper further responded to the controversy by tweeting a parody version of his custom sneaker collab that would appease his haters: a “Chick-Fil-A” Nike Air Max 97. The photo shows a shoe in white with a nod to the Bible verse John 3:16 and “My Pleasure,” which is quoted on the sneaker. “We decided to drop these to even the score,” he wrote via Twitter. “Damn y’all happy now.”

Lil Nas X MSCHF Nike Air Max 97 Satan Shoes
Lil Nas X with his MSCHF cusom Nike Air Max 97 “Satan Shoes.”

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