Nike Escalates StockX Feud, Says Website Is Selling Fake Shoes
Nike Inc. escalated its legal battle with sneaker marketplace StockX, saying it purchased four pairs of counterfeit shoes on the platform.
Nike Inc. escalated its legal battle with sneaker marketplace StockX, saying it purchased four pairs of counterfeit shoes on the platform despite the company's promises that it is only marketing authentic footwear.
The world's largest athletic-wear maker asked a federal judge to let it add claims of counterfeiting and false advertising to the current trademark-infringement lawsuit against StockX. It said it obtained the fake shoes, including a counterfeit Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG, from the marketplace between December and January.
“Those four pairs of counterfeit shoes were all purchased within a short two-month period on StockX's platform, all had affixed to them StockX's ‘Verified Authentic' hangtag, and all came with a paper receipt from StockX in the shoe box stating that the condition of the shoes is ‘100% Authentic,'” Nike said in a court filing Tuesday.
Nike sued StockX in February in federal court in Manhattan, accusing the marketplace of “blatantly freeriding” on Nike's trademarks and goodwill with a service called Vault NFTs. StockX argued that its NFTs aren't digital sneakers but simply listings for physical sneakers that are stored in its vault and can be traded by users.
StockX said in a statement Wednesday that it takes customer protection “extremely seriously” and has invested millions of dollars to “fight the proliferation of counterfeit products that virtually every global marketplace faces today.”
StockX added, “Nike's latest filing is not only baseless but also is curious given that their own brand protection team has communicated confidence in our authentication program, and that hundreds of Nike employees -- including current senior executives -- use StockX to buy and sell products.”
Legal scuffles are breaking out over NFTs as they become more mainstream, attracting major brands ranging from Louis Vuitton to Taco Bell. Nike bought virtual sneaker maker RTFKT for an undisclosed sum in December, and launched its own digital shoes last month.
StockX is said to be planning to go public as alternative assets like sneakers and collectibles have become a hot market for investors. The company said in April 2021 that it was valued at $3.8 billion after a secondary tender offering.
The move by Nike “amounts to nothing more than a panicked and desperate attempt to resuscitate its losing legal case against our innovative Vault NFT program that revolutionizes the way that consumers can buy, store, and sell collectibles safely, efficiently, and sustainably,” StockX said. “Nike's challenge has no merit and clearly demonstrates their lack of understanding of the modern marketplace.”
The case is Nike Inc. v StockX LLC, 22-cv-983, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.
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