Don’t mess with Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankenstein.” That seems to be the message that the veteran guitarist is conveying to sporting goods giant Nike. Van Halen has concluded that a new lines of sneakers recently introduced by Nike look a little too similar to his signature “Frankenstein” design, that was made famous by the guitar of the same name when the group broke onto the scene back in the late 1970’s.
Having recently introduced his own line of sneakers featuring the famous design under his EVH brand, Van Halen apparently sees too much similarity between Nike’s new design and the “Frankenstein” design he copyrighted back in 2001 and has field suit in Los Angeles claiming that Nike is inflicting "irreparable harm and damage" to his signature design.
Van Halen is seeking general and punitive damages, all profits resulting from the sales of Nike’s "Dunk Lows" and a permanent injunction stopping the production of the sneakers in question.
There’s little question that the design of the Nike shoe bears a resemblance to Van Halen’s design, but is it similar enough to file a lawsuit over? Opinions, will vary as they always do and likely be influenced by whether or not someone sees Eddie Van Halen has a rock god or a grumpy and arrogant celebrity.
This will be an interesting one to watch, although a verdict is probably not something we should be expecting soon. I suspect that the Van Halen legal team may be hoping for an offer of a settlement from Nike which would allow them to continue using the design while cutting Van Halen in on some of the profits by way of a licensing agreement.