Nike Secures a Win Against a Popular Sneaker Customizer in Settlement

Nike just secured a victory in a years-long legal battle against a sneaker customizing business.

A U.S. District Judge on Wednesday entered a consent judgement and permanent injunction related to the matter between Nike and Customs By Ilene, Inc., the popular sneaker customizing business also known as Drip Creationz. According to the agreement filed this week, Drip Creationz infringed on Nike’s registered trademarks for its footwear by creating, promoting and selling customized Nike Air Force 1 sneakers that were materially altered into versions not associated with Nike as well as other footwear products bearing Nike’s marks.

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Nike initially filed a lawsuit in a federal court in California on July 19, 2021, alleging that Drip Creationz, was responsible for trademark infringement and dilution of its products as well as selling counterfeit shoes that claimed to be Nike products.

The Fashion Law had first reported on the lawsuit that touches on two areas of Drip Creationz’s business. The complaint alleged that Drip has been selling counterfeit Nike products, namely Air Force 1 style shoes. The suit also touched on Drip’s “‘customizations’ of Nike’s iconic products that have been materially altered in ways Nike has never approved or authorized.” In this case, customization refers to the practice of purchasing, redesigning and reselling Nike shoes that “include images, materials, stitching and/or colorways that are not and have never been approved, authorized or offered by Nike.”

According to the settlement, Drip Creationz is barred from creating and selling “unauthorized customizations” of Nike sneakers as well as any sneakers that bear Nike’s marks and could cause consumer confusion.

The judgement pertains to Drip Creationz defendants Raymond Quiroz and Brian Porter and the action is pending for defendant Ilene Arellano.

FN has reached out to Drip Creationz for a comment.

“Drip Creationz and its principals admit they violated Nike’s trademark rights by making, promoting, and selling customized AF1s and D1s,” Nike said in a statement. “The parties resolved Nike’s lawsuit through a settlement agreement and a court judgment in which Drip Creationz made a monetary payment to Nike, admitted its wrongdoing and agreed to entry of a permanent injunction.”

Nike is no stranger to legal action when it comes to protecting its registered trademarks. Also in 2021, Nike filed a complaint against a former employee that alleged trademark infringement and dilution, The Fashion Law reported. And in March of that year, Nike filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against MSCHF, the company that created and sold a number of “Satan Shoes” in collaboration with Lil Nas X in March. The sneakers were based off the Nike Air Max 97 and ultimately recalled by MSCHF after a settlement agreement was reached in April.

And just last month, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in Nike’s favor, closing the athletic giant’s trademark infringement lawsuit against defendants Nickwon Arvinger and David Weeks of By Kiy LLC (known as “Kiy”). In the Aug. 23 ruling, Weeks and By Kiy were permanently forbidden to manufacture, promote, import and sell any products bearing the infringing marks.

In a statement to FN in July 2021, Nike said these types of legal efforts were meant to ensure that products with Nike’s name are authentically produced to Swoosh standards.

“We have no desire to limit the individual expression of artisans, many of whom are some of the brand’s biggest fans,” Nike said in a statement. “In fact, we often collaborate with designers, artists and other creatives to innovate new products and experiences for our consumers with the Nike brand, but we cannot allow unauthorized customizers to build a business using and leveraging some of our most iconic trademarks, undermining the value of Nike Inc.’s IP.”

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