Nike Wants To ‘Destroy’ Unauthorized NFTs — How Will That Work?

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Decrypt: When a company like Nike finds someone using its brand without permission, it can ask the courts to order the unauthorized goods to be destroyed. Nike has done this in the past, but its latest trademark lawsuit comes with a twist -- the products it wants to "destroy" are NFTs, which are inscribed permanently on the Ethereum blockchain. The case in question involves Detroit-based StockX, a site that lets people buy and sell used brands, including Nike sneakers. [...] In a complaint filed last month in New York federal court, Nike accused StockX of ripping off its brand in order to cash in on a "gold rush market" for NFTs. As a remedy for StockX's alleged infringement of its trademarks, Nike wants the company to turn over its profits and stop the NFT sneaker sales. It also wants a judge to "order that StockX be required to deliver to Nike for destruction any and all Vault NFTs." According to Alexandra Roberts, a trademark law professor at the University of New Hampshire, it's fairly common for companies to ask to destroy goods that infringe their IP -- there's even a law that entitles them to do that. But whether a court will grant the order is likely to be informed by what the brand owner is looking to destroy. Where do NFTs fit into this? It's an open question since the courts have never had to address it before. And even if the New York court agrees to order the destruction of the StockX NFTs, there's the question of how exactly Nike would go about doing that. Records on the blockchain show that StockX has indeed inscribed the NFTs on Ethereum, which means they are indestructible except in the extremely unlikely event that developers agree to fork the blockchain to get rid of them. According to some, the most practical thing for Nike to do would be to send the NFTs to a so-called burner wallet. This wouldn't destroy them but still achieve the same purpose: "This means that the best outcome for a brand that is seeking to have NFTs destroyed may be to have them sent to a burn address, which still does not actually destroy them but renders them incapable of being transferred anymore," writes the Fashion Law Blog.

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