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).
Could 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.
The 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.
Many thanks to longtime Counterfeit Chic reader Doug Linde for the tip!