On July 19, 2021, Nike filed suit against Customs by Ilene, known for doing business as Drip Creationz, in the Central District of California for trademark infringement, counterfeiting, dilution, false designation of origin, and unfair competition. Drip Creationz went viral for their customized “Nike Air Force 1” sneakers after that particular shoe, which was originally released by Nike in 1982, enjoyed a major comeback in street fashion during 2019 and 2020. With over one million Instagram followers, Drip Creationz has enjoyed widespread popularity amongst Millennials and Gen Z, especially due to promotion from prominent so-called “influencers” on social media.
Despite Drip Creationz’s claim that it sells “100% authentic” Air Force 1 sneakers, Nike alleges that their shoes are counterfeits of “sub-par quality.” Nike’s claims are not only limited to the sale of allegedly counterfeit shoes, however, but also go to “the core of Drip Creationz’s business–its ‘customizations.’” Specifically, Nike contends that the “images, stitching, materials, and/or colorways used by Drip Creationz are not and have never been approved, authorized, or offered by Nike.” Even further, Nike alleges that some of Drip Creationz’s customizations involve “deconstructing Air Force 1 shoes and replacing and/or adding material on the shoe, including fake and unauthorized Nike Swoosh designs as well as third party trademarks and protected images.”
Drip Creationz’s allegedly infringing Air Force 1 shoes (image provided in the Complaint).
This case is Nike, Inc. v. Customs By Ilene, Inc., Case No. 5:21-cv-01201 in the Central District of California.