The Hefty NFT Lawsuits By Nike And Hermès

2022-02-05 00:28:50
Illegal Nike and Hermès NFTs

Two giants from the retail industry, Nike and Hermès, file separate lawsuits for copyright violations and trademark infringement involving NFT technology. And from the initial assessment, things are looking dire for the suspects.

According to the US multinational corporation, Nike filed a lawsuit against StockX, an online reseller of sneakers, for minting and eventually selling non-fungible tokens, without the consent of the sports company. Specifically, the particular NFTs feature photos of shoes by Nike.

The French luxury brand Hermès on the other hand accused Mason Rothschild of illegally minting and issuing the popular Birkin handbags. More specifically, the NFT drop was called ‘MetaBirkins’, and was available on the OpenSea marketplace, prior to being removed as a result of the lawsuit by Hermès.

Trace Schmeltz, co-manager of Fintech Practice Group at the prominent law firm Barnes & Thornburg, believes that StockX will go for ‘fair use’ in response to the lawsuit by Nike. And the reason for that is the fact that the NFTs were sold only in digital form, and physical.

Pleading The First

Moreover, Trace Schmeltz also states that the artist behind the NFT project might even plead the Frist Amendment from the US Constitution, i.e. say their work is ‘protected as art’. However, according to Schmeltz, in that instance, the artist must clearly elaborate their intentions, especially due to the commercial speech segment of the First Amendment.

To say that your work is protected as art, like Andy Warhol’s use of the Campbell’s Soup label, misses the fact that the First Amendment gives less protection to commercial speech, particularly when it infringes on intellectual property rights.Trace Schmeltz | Fintech Practice Group - Barnes & Thornburg

Regardless of how this matter will be settled, it should definitely serve as a reminder for everyone thinking of illegally profiting from NFTs. Considering that we are just in the beginning of the NFT boom, the lawsuits from Nike and Hermès hint that we might just see other cases such as this one.

We just only hope that this will inspire both Nike and Hermès to enter the NFT game, and eventually ‘drag’ plenty of their competitors with them.

 

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