Can Nike and Hermès stop unauthorised NFTs? Lawsuits brought against StockX shopping platform and artist's ‘MetaBirkins'

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

shopping platform StockX

As digital objects in the form of NFTs have exploded in popularity and value over the past year, so too have the legal headaches and complications.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Nike became the latest company to file a lawsuit over the issue – suing shopping platform StockX for creating and marketing NFTs with its logo and branding.

It follows a lawsuit last month brought by French luxury brand Hermès against artist Mason Rothschild, who has auctioned 100 “MetaBirkins” – a digital “homage” to the label’s famous Birkin bag – some fetching tens of thousands of dollars.

Global Tech News Daily

The Hermès case could go either way, said lawyer Annabelle Gauberti, whose firm Crefovi specialises in creative industries.

shopping platform StockX

Global Tech News Daily

A MetaBirkin created by artist Mason Rothschild. Photo: Instagram

Rothschild has argued that he is protected by the US Constitution’s First Amendment.

In Europe, too: Gauberti recalled the example of a case from a decade ago, in which Louis Vuitton failed to prevent a Dutch artist placing one of its bags in a picture of a Darfur refugee.

“The ‘fair use’ defence works well, particularly in UK and US law, in which an artist can use a trademarked word or product to make a point or as a parody,” Gauberti said. But Rothschild may struggle to convince a judge that his work had artistic merit.

“It’s hard to see on the face of it what message he is trying to convey other than that he wants to make a lot of money, so it’s going to be a lot of work for his legal team,” she said.

The Nike case is a more directly commercial affair, since StockX has never claimed its NFTs are artforms. But it remains to be seen how trademark law holds up in the digital realm.

shopping platform StockX

A pair of Air Jordan 1 Retro shoes sold on Stock X, a live auction site for resale of high-end sneakers, handbags, streetwear and watches. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

“The extent of these protections in the digital world as well as what remedies can be granted are yet to be explored,” wrote lawyer Danielle Garno.

In his response to Hermès, published on Twitter, Rothschild compared his MetaBirkins to Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell soup paintings.

“The fact that I sell the art using NFTs doesn’t change the fact that it’s art,” he wrote. However, Edward Lee of Chicago-Kent College of Law said the Warhol comparison was not perfect since the Campbell Soup company was never likely to get into the business of selling paintings, whereas Hermès could well choose to create its own NFTs.

The technology can also confuse matters, since an NFT is actually just a receipt of ownership, rather than the thing itself.

“Many people assume that, when you talk about an NFT, the content of the NFT is inside the token, which it is not, and because it is not, there is no unauthorised reproduction,” said Primavera De Filippi, co-author of Blockchain and the Law.

Hermès has demanded that Rothschild remove and destroy his MetaBirkins, and at least one NFT platform, OpenSea, has already agreed to remove them from sale.

shopping platform StockX

Sneakers from Nike and Jordan at a StockX event in Hong Kong.

But Gauberti said enforcing the law online is very tricky. “Even if lawsuits are successful, how do you go after the guy who has already bought the item or stop them being sold on secondary auctions? It’s the Wild West in terms of enforcement online,” she said.

The best option, she said, is for brands to get ahead of the copycats and dominate the space with “official” NFTs. Nike has done exactly that, acquiring RTFKT, a company that specialises in designing digital sneakers.

“A strong offence is the best defence,” said Gauberti. “At the moment, a lot of these brands are on the fence (about creating their own NFTs) because their core products are physical, and they’re still watching the space to see if the metaverse will really take off.”

News Related

OTHER NEWS

As US stocks fall, a bear market is all but inevitable in 2022

Greed and fear are primal instincts, and greed has been red in tooth and claw in battling against fear during what amounts to the longest ever bull market in stocks. ... Read more »

Tencent restores Fight Club ending after censorship backlash in China on social media

China’s internet giant Tencent Holdings has restored the original ending of the popular dark satire Fight Club on its video streaming service after censorship of the final scene sparked widespread ... Read more »

How blockchain technology can help solve Asia's need for green finance

As the climate crisis worsens, governments and organisations are increasingly looking to green finance as a way to raise funds for sustainable projects and infrastructure. Yet despite growing investment in ... Read more »

What is the gut microbiome? How a diet high in fibre and plant-based foods helps keep yours healthy – experts explain

Looking after our gut health is important. Colorectal is the third most common cancer in men and the second most common in women worldwide. In Hong Kong it is the ... Read more »

How fake breasts, nipples, penis transformed Pam & Tommy stars Lily James, Sebastian Stan into iconic '90s couple for Hulu show

The task: transform actors known for playing Cinderella and Marvel’s Winter Soldier into a buxom blonde Playboy cover girl and her tattooed rock star husband. The resemblance of stars Lily ... Read more »

China signs up for treaty to protect industrial design IP

China has joined the World Intellectual Property Organization’s treaty on protecting industrial designs, which should help Chinese designers safeguard their work internationally, the UN agency said on Saturday. Beijing has ... Read more »

Year of the Tiger: Tesla's lead in China's EV market is whittled away by NIO, Xpeng, Li Auto and other home-grown brands

Tesla’s dominance in the world’s largest electric car market may come increasingly under pressure in the Year of the Tiger, as China’s home-grown brands develop new models to pick up ... Read more »

Hong Kong: haunting memoir of a fractured city and life on the edge

The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir by Karen Cheung, pub. Penguin Random House Among the acknowledgements at the end of her first book, The Impossible City: A Hong Kong ... Read more »

Hong Kong's property market sinks to 17-month low in January as Omicron wreaks havoc with deals

Hong Kong’s property market is expected to see even fewer deals in the coming month amid a fifth coronavirus outbreak linked to the Omicron strain, with the overall number of ... Read more »

US Treasury warns of illicit money percolating in high-end art

The US Treasury Department is looking more closely at potential money laundering and the financing of terrorism through trading high-value art. The way art is bought and sold – and ... Read more »

How China plans to lead the world in sustainable food with latest five-year agricultural development plan

China’s decision to include alternative proteins in its five-year agricultural development plan shows Beijing’s desire to nurture home-grown technology to ensure sustainable food supply, industry watchers say. Lab-grown meat, plant-based ... Read more »

4 of Asia's richest celebrity power couples: from Bollywood's Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh to K-drama's Kim Tae-hee romance with K-pop's Rain

When an actor reaches a certain level of fame, their whole life becomes a movie – with fans as fascinated with their off-screen antics as their next screen role. And ... Read more »

K-drama midseason recap: Ghost Doctor – medical drama starring Rain and Kim Beom delivers comic banter and smooth emotional beats

This article contains spoilers. Sometimes all a show needs is enough of a story to fuel a fun concept. This is exactly the balance that Korean medical comedy-drama Ghost Doctor, ... Read more »

‘No money, no new year': Chinese developers remain mired in debt even after financial lifeline

As millions of Chinese headed home last week to celebrate the Lunar New Year, Michael Lin had to break the bad news to his 7-year-old daughter: she would not be ... Read more »

Stress, anxiety, trauma: how Hong Kong Covid-19 travel curbs affect the mental health of expat families, for whom there are few upsides to isolation

An ambulance pulls up outside one of the austere blocks at Penny’s Bay, Hong Kong’s quarantine camp, where arrivals to the city and close contacts of Covid-19 cases are confined ... Read more »

Who is Irene Zhao, the Singapore Instagram influencer who made over US$5 million selling her photos as NFTs – and caught Logan Paul's attention in the process?

NFTs continue to take the world by storm and social media influencers are starting to catch on to the trend. Case in point: for Irene Zhao, one of Singapore’s biggest ... Read more »

Why Federal Reserve's hard pivot over inflation has stock markets spooked

Capital markets have had a turbulent start to the new year as they adjust to more active central banks and tighter monetary policy. The US Federal Reserve has kick-started the ... Read more »

Covid-19 looms large over Hong Kong's office market as companies implement work-from-home

The office market in Hong Kong will continue to be disrupted by the work-from-home trend this year as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, a UBS real estate analyst said. With ... Read more »

US-China tech war: Top Chinese university pulls report that concluded China would suffer more from tech decoupling with US

A think-tank at China’s prestigious Peking University has pulled a report that concluded China would likely suffer more in a tech decoupling from the US. The 7,600-character report was published ... Read more »

Hong Kong approves spin-off of Chinese metals and plastics firm Karrie International's property arm, paves way for listing

KRP Development, the real estate business of Chinese metal and plastics manufacturer Karrie International Holdings, is heading for a listing in Hong Kong after the city’s bourse approved the unit’s ... Read more »

Beijing 2022: the best and worst Winter Olympics outfits to look out for from Adidas, Columbia, Uniqlo, The North Face, Kim Kardashian's Skims and more

Millions of people around the world will be turning their eyes to the Chinese capital for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Winter Games that follow soon after. ... Read more »

Why era of self-driving cars is still far off despite Elon Musk's big talk

It was almost six years ago that I harrumphed against the exuberant predictions about the imminent autonomous vehicle takeover of our roads. Today, quietly and without hubris, I can sneak ... Read more »

How shows like Single's Inferno reveal the dark side of reality TV fame for non-celebrities

By Kwak Yeon-soo In the past, non-celebrities with unique skills and expertise could become celebrities by showing off their talents in the media – but that trend is slowly dying. ... Read more »

iPhone screen maker, Li Ning-backed blank-cheque company file for Hong Kong IPOs, betting on rebound in demand for new listings

Biel Crystal, the world’s largest maker of smartphone screens, is among a host of companies betting that demand for initial public offerings will improve after a dismal January that saw ... Read more »

K-pop stars HyunA and Dawn get engaged, four years after romance upended their musical careers

K-pop sweethearts HyunA and Dawn announced their plans to marry on February 3. The couple shared their plans through a series of Instagram posts featuring a pair of matching opal ... Read more »

China's fully cashless society a step closer after two private banks end services for banknotes and coins

Two small private Chinese banks announced last month that they would no longer provide services involving banknotes or coins, in the latest sign that the country is accelerating its march ... Read more »

Hong Kong-listed developer Shui On Land says it has resolved flat owners' complaints at joint venture project in Wuhan

Hong Kong-listed developer Shui On Land said it had resolved owners’ complaints at Optics Valley Innovation Tiandi, its joint venture flagship mixed-used development in Wuhan in central China. Some owners ... Read more »

How balsamic vinegar – the best artisanal kind – takes decades to mature like a fine wine, and how to enjoy it

An intense dark brown with hints of red gives way to caramel as syrupy drops of one of the world’s finest balsamic vinegars trickle down the creamy folds of a ... Read more »

Alibaba leads Hang Seng gains as Hong Kong stocks surge after Lunar New Year holiday

Hong Kong stocks soared as trading resumed after the Lunar New Year break, amid signs the global sell-off in tech stocks is easing while a slowing Chinese economy bolstered hopes ... Read more »

Digital US dollar edges towards reality as code developed by Boston Fed, MIT exceeds requirements

The work of creating a possible US digital dollar inched ahead on Thursday with initial research by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston into the code that eventually could support ... Read more »

Getting teenage girls into science, engineering is key to narrowing skills gap in tech sector, says education entrepreneur

Increasing the number of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can help the sector tackle a widening skills gap as demand for talent increases amid changes to the ... Read more »

Women on boards: Hong Kong firms under pressure to improve boardroom gender diversity as asset managers turn up the heat

Publicly listed companies in Hong Kong, including blue chips, reported only a marginal improvement in the poor representation of women on their boards last year. And with new rules taking ... Read more »

Why Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand restaurants are more relatable to the average diner than those awarded Michelin stars

The new Hong Kong and Macau Michelin Guide was launched in late January and commentators, as usual, tripped over themselves to detail all the newly starred restaurants and those that ... Read more »

Big Tech's red packet war for Lunar New Year sees less cash given away as campaigns try users' patience

Chinese Big Tech companies’ seasonal rush to offer billions of yuan in electronic red packets, known as lai see in Cantonese, for the Lunar New Year holiday fell short of ... Read more »

How to make plum and raspberry pie: a sweet, tart dessert that looks as good as it tastes – a recipe from our archives

Fresh plums have a long season – you can find different varieties in the market for most of the year. Plums and raspberries are a classic culinary combination. For the ... Read more »

China smartphone brands, including Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo, continue to lead India smartphone growth in 2021: report

The smartphone market in India recorded record revenue and shipments last year despite ongoing supply constraints, with Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp leading the pack, according to a new report ... Read more »

Growing up a modern Indian royal is ‘like Downton Abbey', says Princess Akshita of Mayurbhanj, who restored Belgadia Palace as a boutique hotel to keep history alive

Princess Akshita M Bhanj Deo says growing up royal in India among “dilapidated” palaces was similar to how Downton Abbey characters constantly try to ensure the survival of their family ... Read more »

M&A deals in China and Hong Kong hit record high as market brushes aside economic headwinds

The number of mergers and acquisitions in China and Hong Kong rose nearly 20 per cent to a record high last year despite headwinds from a slowing economy and sporadic ... Read more »

K-pop star Jamie talks about her spicy new song Pity Party, standing up for herself online and being a party girl

Jamie, also known as Park Jimin, has had many personas throughout her K-pop career. With the release of her new single Pity Party, she has a new one – a ... Read more »

K-drama review: Snowdrop – starring Blackpink's Jisoo, Disney+'s disastrous historical romance awkwardly mixes Shakespeare and politics

This article contains mild spoilers. 1/5 stars Embraced by an adoring and continually expanding global audience, the horizons for K-dramas are bright. However, despite the industry’s generally sunny prospects there ... Read more »