Nike sues maker of virtual shoes

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Sports apparel giant Nike has filed a lawsuit against online reseller StockX in a New York federal court on Thursday for the unauthorized sale of Nike shoe NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

In the court filings, Nike complained that StockX began selling NFTs of its sneakers last month, informing customers they would be able to exchange the virtual tokens for real shoes “in the near future.” The online platform has allegedly sold over 500 Nike-branded NFTs so far.

Nike deemed the action an infringement on its trademarks and said the NFT sales would confuse customers. In the lawsuit, the company demanded an order to block the Nike-associated NFT sales on StockX. It also wants the reseller to pay damages, but the amount has not been disclosed.

The lawsuit states that the NFT sale “inflated prices and murky terms of purchase and ownership,” while also marring Nike’s business reputation.

Nike announced it will release a number of its own virtual products later in February in collaboration with digital art studio RTFKT, which it bought last year.

It is not the first lawsuit over NFTs, which have been gaining in popularity recently. Earlier this month, US rapper Lil Yachty sued music NFT start-up Opulous for trademark infringement, claiming that the firm “maliciously” used his name and image. In January, French luxury design house Hermes sued artist Mason Rothschild over ‘MetaBirkin’ NFTs named after Hermes’ famous Birkin handbags. In November 2021, Miramax studio sued director Quentin Tarantino after he announced plans to auction ‘Pulp Fiction’ movie NFTs.

NFTs are non-fungible tokens, which are units of digital data stored and traded online. Most NFTs are digital files such as photos, videos, and audio recordings.

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