StockX and Nike continue to battle over who owns an NFT
Future. Resale platform StockX and sneaker giant Nike are going head-to-head over who has the right to mint an NFT of a pair of shoes. Both have strong points, and a court may allow both to exist simultaneously, which is why it may benefit the whole industry to start educating customers about the difference between an NFT issued by a shoe brand (and all the perks Web3 that come with it) and an NFT issued by a reseller (and how it might make the industry a little greener).
StockX says it’s not selling digital sneakers.
- Refresher: StockX announced that it would allow customers to buy and sell NFTs — dubbed VaultNFTs — that represent each pair of physical sneakers they have in stock. Nike said, “no way,” and sued.
- Nike’s argument is that only the shoemaker holds the right to make an NFT of their shoes — a key aspect of its metaverse plans.
- But here’s the kicker: StockX says its VaultNFTs “are absolutely not ‘virtual products’ or digital sneakers” (their bolding, not ours).
- StockX’s legal argument is that “fair use and nominative first sale doctrines” under trademark law give the company leeway to make the NFTs.
Pair of NFTs
So, here’s the million-dollar question: “who’s NFTs are they anyway?” Does the right to mint belong to the manufacturer of the shoe (Nike), or does it belong with to the owner of the shoe (StockX and then whoever owns the VaultNFT thereafter)? Can both exist simultaneously? One NFT that is the shoe (both physically and digitally) and another that represents ownership and its existence in a tangible space (a pair of shoes in a warehouse)?
That all may sound confusing, but both clearly have value. Nike does have a point, though, that StockX’s plans could create confusion among customers — that’ll be a job for the brand’s marketing department. Or StockX could just drop the name “NFT” from the tokens altogether.