Art Basel's Miami Beach event is generally thought of as an excuse for the well-to-do to indulge in parties, expensive purchases, and some Three Stripes of an entirely different kind, all under the guise of 'art'. No one expected it to be the site of one of 2017's most significant sneaker-related lawsuits.
At the 2016 event, adidas took to the streets of Miami beach to hand out free pairs of a 1000-run special edition EQT Support ADV. The shoe couldn't be bought in stores; rather, it was a right place, right time thing. Unfortunately for adidas, the art event's parent company – MCH Swiss Exhibition – weren't fans of the 'Art Basel' detailing on the tongue.
As we reported in June, MCH were suing adidas for using their name without permission. This was a colab that MCH really didn't want, as was made clear in their dramatic submission to the court:
'Art Basel is suffering irreparable and indivisible injury and harm [as as result of the usage]... if [adidas’] infringing and unfairly competitive activities are not permanently enjoined, [Art Basel] and the consuming public will continue to be harmed.'
The lawsuit has come to a pretty quick conclusion: this case could have stretched over years. In true Scarface style, this one was settled out of court. As a result, most of the details will stay private, but we can confirm that adidas will pay damages for trademark infringement. Considering the money behind these companies and the public play-out of this case, we're guessing some big bucks are involved.
Whether or not adidas had to fulfil MCH's demands that the remaining pairs be recalled and destroyed (a difficult feat when they're splashed over eBay) remains to be seen. In what is almost certainly a requirement of the settlement, adidas have issued a public apology.
During the Art Basel show in Miami Beach in 2016, Adidas gave away a limited number of shoes bearing both the Art Basel trademark and the Adidas trademark. Adidas did not obtain a license to use the Art Basel mark for these shoes, and Adidas was not a partner with or a sponsor of the Art Basel show. Adidas regrets these actions and is pleased that the lawsuit filed by Art Basel has been settled amicably.