On 3 February, Nike sued StockX in U.S. Federal Court for trademark infringement in relation to StockX’s sale of non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) tied to images of Nike shoes.
StockX operates an online platform for reselling of sneakers and other goods. Nike alleges that buyers of the StockX NFTs were told that the tokens would eventually be redeemable for physical shoes. In addition to trademark infringement, Nike has claimed that “inflated prices and murky terms of purchase and ownership” surrounding the NFTs have hurt Nike’s reputation.
Nike has plans to release “a number of virtual products” of its own following its acquisition of digital art studio RTFKT in December.
Nike’s suit comes less than a month after handbag maker Hermès sued artist Mason Rothschild, also in U.S. Federal Court, for trademark infringement, after Rothschild advertised and sold a line of digital handbag NFTs under the name MetaBirkin.
In an open letter to Hermès, Rothschild has asserted First Amendment protection for the NFTs, stating that Metabirkins are “a playful abstraction” and “a commentary on fashion’s history of animal cruelty.” Hermès has pushed back on this assertion, stating in its complaint: “Although a digital image connected to an NFT may reflect some artistic creativity… the title of ‘artist’ does not confer a license to use an equivalent to the famous BIRKIN trademark…”.