Earlier in October, Nike filed a suit against designer Warren Lotas, calling him a “bad actor” for his line of sneakers heavily borrowed from their ‘NYC Pigeon’ Nike Dunk Low Pro, including his Toxic Green and Freddy Broccolini shoes.
However, his own version of the Pigeon Dunks seemed to trigger legal action from the Beaverton, Oregon footwear giant. Nike also demanded the profits from Lotas’ sales, reimbursement of their attorney fees, triple the amount of damages they believe they suffered incurred, and forfeiture of any equipment used in creating his sneakers.
On his Instagram Story, the designer said, “We are currently investigating the claims made against us and will do what it takes to remedy the situation amicably. I firmly believe my intentions have been misconstrued.”
Now, Lotas is striking back, looking to stop Nike and for the courts to let him sell substitutions to his “illegal fakes.” Given that each pair of his sneakers sold for $300, and he has to process over 36,000 refunds since the suit from Nike, the projected revenue for the footwear sits at $10.8 million. However, 7,000 of those customers approved for their orders be replaced with his new shoe, the Reaper.
“The Reaper is a radically different sneaker… It contains no Swoosh, no panels, and stitching that mimic the Dunk trade dress, and has a differently-designed outsole that features the skull and scythe of the grim reaper. Nike’s effort to convert the Court’s injunction against the accused sneakers into an injunction against an entirely new shoe—where there has been no showing anyone is confused—is inappropriate and warrants an order from the court.”
Jeff Staple, creator of the original Dunks and co-designer of Lotas’ version, gave his own two cents, voicing his support for Lotas, saying, “No one’s buying a Shoe Surgeon or Warren Lotas shoe to trick their friends. It’s a different thing. You don’t go to warrenlotas.com, add a $300 item to your cart and be like ‘ah, he tricked me, man. I thought these were the Pigeons. I thought these were the Stussy’s.’