During last year’s Art Basel event in Miami, Adidas gave away 1,000 pair of limited edition “Art Basel” EQT ADV sneakers.
The high end art fest was not pleased and Tuesday filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, case MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd., V. Adidas America, Inc. and Adidas AG, 1:17-cv-22002-DPG (FLSD), citing “willful distribution of at least 1,000 pairs of sneakers bearing an unauthorized reproduction of Plantiffs’ registered and incontestable ART BASEL trademark. ‘
The suit also alleges claims of Federal trademark infringement, along with federal false association, false designation of origin, federal trademark infringement and that its “name and mark has been used internationally since at least as early as 1999 in connection with art fair expositions around the world and related goods.”
ART BASEL indicated it has allowed its show partners to utilize its trademark , but adidas was not among those partners. They contend in their suit that Adidas used the ART BASEL mark without their consent to promote their EQT sneaker.
The suit further contends that Adidas’ “placement of the ART BASEL mark on the Sneakers, hang tags and boxes,which also bear [adidas’] marks, deliberately misrepresents an association show partnership, sponsorship or othern affiliation between [Art Basel] and Adidas misrepresents the origin of the Sneakers.”
ART BASEL has alleged that adidas also “promoted, advertised, distributed, sold, and/or offered for sale the Sneakers” and continue to do so, thereby enjoying the benefits of an exclusive license of the ART BASEL mark without paying for or obtaining a license and, therefore, has been unjustly enriched through its unauthorized infringement of the ART BASEL mark.”