US sports equipment manufacturer Nike has filed a complaint against US online shopping platform StockX for selling Nike shoes as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) without authorization. These are digital certificates that allow someone to call themselves the owner of an object.
“Stockx prints NFTs that feature the Nike logo, promotes them using the Nike brand, and sells the NFTs at inflated prices to unsuspecting consumers who believe or are prone to believe that Nike has approved these ‘investible digital assets’ ( as StockX calls it) when they are not,” said Nike’s lawyers.
Nike is demanding damages – the amount was not disclosed – and asks that the courts prohibit the sale of those NFTs. Also according to Nike, StockX has already sold more than 500 NFTs with the Nike brand. In addition, the online shopping platform claims that the certificates can be resold or exchanged for a real pair of shoes.
Digital certificates such as NFTs have become extremely popular and can yield significant amounts of money. For example, the NFT of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet brought in $2.9 million at auction, and the first source code for the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee sold for $5.4 million. The buyer of the code, which is secured by blockchain technology, verifiably becomes the digital owner of the item.
The number of NFT lawsuits is also increasing. Miramax filed a lawsuit in November against director Quentin Tarantino over his plan to auction an NFT of his film Pulp Fiction, which he directed and distributed to the studio. In January, Hermès sued artist Mason Rothschild over the sale of NFTs of the French fashion company’s Birkin bags.