Internet collective MSCHF says it won’t infringe Nike’s trademark with a pair of exclusive blood-soaked “Satan Shoes” paving the way for a bigger legal battle.
After filing a lawsuit earlier this week, Nike sought one temporary restraining order to prevent MSCHF from ordering from are Satan Shoes – a $ 1,018 Nike sneaker embellished with a pentagram and reportedly injected with ink and a single drop of blood. But in a comment Filed yesterday, MSCHF says all but one of the shoes, a 666-pair collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X, have already been shipped.
“Contrary to Nike’s speculation in the papers, all but one of the shoes have already been sold and shipped. MSCHF does not intend to release additional Satan shoes, ”MSCHF lawyers wrote in response to the Nike suit. The collective says it planned to give away the final pair on April 2, but it has shelved that plan due to the lawsuit.
Nike claimed that MSCHF sold its shoes under the Nike brand name, but modified them in a way that affected the Nike brand. It quoted Internet commentators who believed the shoes were official products. But MSCHF argues that buyers knew Nike had not designed the Satan Shoes. It also accuses Nike of picking out the Satan shoe while ignoring a similar ‘Jesus shoe’ from 2019. In a footnote to a lawsuit, Nike says it can modify the lawsuit to include Jesus Shoes, but it is not targeting them as they are not currently being sold.
MSCHF states that since “there will be no further distribution of Satan Shoes for now,” Nike will not suffer damages requiring a restraining order.
More broadly, MSCHF says the shoes are works of artistic social commentary – similar to signed Banksy prints. “These shoes are works of art meant to criticize the ever-popular ‘collab culture’, where brands like Nike team up with anyone looking to make a splash,” the comment said. They were sold in collaboration with Lil Nas X, but they were also “portrayed as a collaboration with Satan himself (a note on the extreme collab culture).”
In the filing, MSCHF actually admits that the Satan Shoes were more of a one-off stunt than a full-blown commercial product. But if the two parties go to court, they can set legal precedent for the entire fashion world, especially for online retailers who “upcycle” or heavily modify designer clothes.