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Nike Settles Trademark Lawsuit Over Lil Nas X ‘Satan’ Shoes


Nike’s trademark lawsuit over modified Air Max 97s used in Lil Nas X’s rap video has quickly reached its final resting place. Nike and MSCHF Product Studio, Inc. (the manufacturer of the shoes in question) have reached a settlement in the lawsuit filed last month.

MSCHF, a Brooklyn manufacturing company, created the “Satan Shoes,” which incorporated drops of its employees’ blood into the soles of the shoes, along with affixing bronze pentagram charms to the shoes’ upper. Each pair initially sold for $1,018 — and all 666 pairs manufactured sold out in less than a minute. The modified version of the Nike shoes were featured in a scene of rapper Lil Nas X’s biblical-themed music video.

Before creating the Satan Shoes, MSCHF produced the “Jesus Shoe,” another unauthorized modified line of Nikes. The “Jesus Shoe” model contained holy water instead of blood, and a crucifix instead of a pentagram.

Many consumers noticed that Nike did not file a lawsuit over the Jesus Shoes, but did file one after the Satan Shoes were released.

MSCHF’s attorney, David H. Bernsteincharacterized the “Satan shoes” as art “intended to comment on the absurdity of the collaboration culture practiced by some brands, and about the perniciousness of intolerance.” Shortly after Nike’s lawsuit was filed, a federal judge issued an injunction halting all sales of the shoes.

Although the terms of Nike’s settlement with MSCHF have been primarily kept confidential, one important aspect of their agreement has been widely announced. MSCHF will conduct a “voluntary recall” by offering refunds to to anyone wishing to return either the Satan or Jesus sneakers.

Referencing a key aspect of trademark rights, Nike’s statement about the settlement specifically invited purchasers who may have been “confused” to seek any desired refunds.

[image from exhibit in Nike lawsuit]

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Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos