NFT battles: Nike takes seller of unlicensed NFT sneakers to court
Popular sneaker maker Nike has started the “licensed NFT” wars by taking an online reseller called StockX to court for trademark infringement or sale of unlicensed nonfungible token (NFT) sneakers.
According to a Reuters report, Nike has filed a lawsuit against the reseller in a New York Federal court, demanding an undisclosed amount in damages and a halt of sales on such virtual collectibles. StockX reportedly started selling Nike sneaker NFTs in January and promised buyers they can redeem the real-world version of the sneakers in the near future.
Nike, in its 50-page complaint, claimed StockX has sold nearly 500 NFT sneakers with the Nike branding, which has dented its reputation and legitimacy. The shoemaker brand also alleged the NFT sneakers were being sold at inflated prices with very “murky terms of purchase and ownership.”
StockX is a popular online reseller estimated to be worth $3.8 billion, and its NFT sneakers in dispute are still online. The collection is called “The Vault” and comprises nine premium Nike sneakers and deals with NFTs tied to their real-world asset.
Nike claimed NFTs are a way for brands to interact with their customers, but some of the players in the market are trying to “usurp the goodwill of some of the most famous trademarks in the world and use those trademarks without authorization to market their virtual products and generate ill-gotten profits.” The shoemaker is set to launch its own NFTs collection later this month in association with recently acquired art studio RTFKT.
The popularity of NFTs has made it a primary PR and marketing tool for brands and celebrities. However, as with any popular use case in the decentralized world, NFTs have reached a point of exploitation. Apart from Nike, there have been several other lawsuits around NFTs involving big brands and celebrities. Pulp Fiction’s film production company, Miramax, sued the director of the film, Quentin Tarantino, for selling NFTs of the movie, calling it copyright infringement.