Amazingly, Nike went ahead and mass-produced some shoes that feature the trademarked Van Halen stripes!
From KTLA News:
LOS ANGELES — Guitarist Eddie Van Halen filed a lawsuit against Nike in Los Angeles Friday, alleging the company used the trademarked striped design from his guitar on their new line of “Dunk Lows” tennis shoes.
The Nike shoes feature red, white and black streaks along the midsole.
The suit states that Van Halen received a 2001 copyright for the design on the body of his “Frankenstein” electric guitar.
Court papers allege that Nike infringed on that copyright by using the design on sneakers without “consent, approval or license.”
Van Halen claims Nike is doing “irreparable harm and damage” to his signature design. He is seeking general and punitive damages, all profits arising from the sales of “Dunk Lows” and a permanent injunciton halting production of the Nike shoes.
Van Halen recently launched his own line of striped sneakers under his EVH brand.
This raises the question; what was Nike thinking? It’s obvious that Nike deliberately copied Eddie Van Halen’s distinctive striped design. This seems like a no-brainer lawsuit that should be a open and shut case for Eddie.
Eddie doesn’t even have a choice but to file this lawsuit, since once you trademark something, you must protect your trademark, and the only way to do that is to vigorously patrol for violations and sue on every one you can find. If you don’t defend your trademark, you lose the trademark and it slips into the public domain. Van Halen’s lawyers are doing what they are supposed to do. We wish Eddie the best with this.
Lawyers for Van Halen said they had no comment beyond the filing, preferring, they said, “to try cases in court.”
In a statement provided to Footwear News by a brand spokesperson, Nike said it was aware of the lawsuit but did not believe it to have merit. “Based on the information provided to us, we have not infringed on any rights held by Mr. Van Halen,” it said. “Nike’s Dunk shoe design is not substantially similar to any of the Van Halen designs, and Nike has not referenced the ‘Van Halen’ name or image as part of any marketing campaign or promotional material associated with the shoe.”
We think Nike’s full of it, because whoever designed those shoes at Nike made them for the same reason that Eddie made his line of Official EVH Brand Signature Striped Sneakers – to appeal to Van Halen fans.
We’ll end this story with some humor from a VH fan:
I cannot believe no one at Nike noticed the slight resemblance of the stripes on those ugly things to Eddie’s guitar.
Nike employee: “Say, Bob. Does something about those black and white stripes acrross a red background seem familiar to you?”
“You know, Larry, I think you’re right. It’s as though I’ve seen them somewhere before.”
“Bah. Probably our imagination. Start production!”
2014 UPDATE: Eddie has an entire NEW line of striped sneakers here: