To celebrate Art Basel 2016, adidas produced a limited run of 1000 pairs of special edition EQT Support ADVs adored with reflective accents and the words ‘ART BASEL’ printed in minuscule font on the tongue, below the adidas logo. Never sold in stores, the pairs were freely distributed on the streets of Miami during last year’s Art Basel event. Now it looks like the Three Stripes’ generous publicity stunt is set to backfire, with the event’s organisers themselves filing a lawsuit for unauthorised use of their trademark.
According to the lawsuit, MCH Swiss Exhibition, which hosts the internationally-renowned art festival, it “routinely permits its show partners to use the ART BASEL mark on an exclusive basis for valuable consideration,” and that adidas had produced the sneakers without receiving consent – or even requesting it.
As a result, the lawsuit claims that the sneakers implied an affiliation between Art Basel and adidas that didn’t exist, and that adidas were ‘unjustly enriched’ through their unauthorised usage of the Art Basel trademark. In turn, the festival organisers claim that they are ‘suffering irreparable and indivisible injury and harm,’ as a result of the wrongful usage and that ‘”if [adidas’] infringing and unfairly competitive activities are not permanently enjoined, [Art Basel] and the consuming public will continue to be harmed.”
The Miami Herald reports that Art Basel are looking to have every pair destroyed – meaning that anyone who has them up on eBay might have to think twice about their listing. We’ll have to wait and see how this one pans out for the Three Stripes.