German sports company adidas is being sued over trademark infringement by Art Basel. Allegedly, adidas wilfully distributed at least 1.000 pairs of sneakers bearing the Art Basel trademark.
Art Basel stages the world’s premier modern and contemporary art fairs, staged annually in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong. The famous art fest routinely permits its show partners to use the Art Basel trademark on an exclusive basis for valuable consideration. It has done so for its partners, like BMW, Audemar Piguet watches, and Davidoff cigars. Guess who’s not on that list? Adidas.
Nonetheless, in 2016, the sportswear giant allegedly “without receiving consent from Art Basel, or even requesting such consent”, designed sneakers improperly bearing the Art Basel mark to promote its new version of the EQT sneaker. According to the art fair, this deliberately misrepresents an association, show partnership, sponsorship or other affiliation.
When asked about the complaint, a spokesperson for Art Basel merely said: “The complaint speaks for itself.”