For Unlawful Copyright Knowledge

When Counterfeit Chic is asked to sum up the current cultural ascendancy of fashion in the U.S. in the U.S., my usual reply is, "It used to be that kids wanted to grow up to be rock stars.  Now rock stars want to grow up to be fashion designers." 

Case in point:  Eddie Van Halen.  A guitarist so iconic that mere initials will suffice -- as in his  branded EVH gear, including not only guitars, amps, and accessories, but also a new line of EVH shoes.  The canvas high-top and low-top sneakers come in three striped patterns, each based on the design of one of his signature guitars, including the Frankenstein (below left).
 
Van_Halen_Frankenstein_guitar_shoes.jpgCould it be coincidence that Nike has also created a shoe incorporating black and white stripes on a red background?  Not according to Van Halen, whose company, E.L.V.H. Inc., has sued Nike, claiming copyright infringement of the original graphic design on the guitar (complaint here).  (No, that's not a typo -- the "L" is for Lodewijk, Van Halen's middle name -- but you knew that, right?)  Interestingly, there's no trade dress claim, so the question of whether the alleged copy reminds consumers of the EVF design isn't the focus here, and Nike's protestations that it didn't reference Van Halen in marketing the shoe aren't particularly pertinent.
Nike_version_of_Van_Halen.jpgThe timing and the medium are certainly suspicious, but are the stripes on the Nike shoe similar enough to the pattern on the guitar to constitute copyright infringement?  You really got me.  I'll have to leave it up to the court to determine whether Nike is running with the devil -- or trying to.

Via BeatCrave.

Many thanks to longtime Counterfeit Chic reader Doug Linde for the tip!