Nike is suing 589 websites, the owners of 676 social media accounts and more than 100 unidentified companies and individuals for allegedly selling counterfeit versions of its Nike and Converse shoes online. Nike described 46 networks with some networks being sued for more than USD$200 million each. What many have taken interest in are the “networks” that Nike have identified; a real cartel scheme with a small group of top level players. Although the lawsuit has slowed down operations, the market has not disappeared and different supply channels will emerge. For Nike and other manufacturers, replica production is a Hydra – each time they cut off one head two more grow.
This lawsuit initially arrived earlier in January in sync with Virgil Abloh’s announcement of “The 20”. This new lawsuit (Case 1:21-cv-00248-SHS) is topped up seeking further damages to restrict supply whether it be through Reddit, Instagram, or their websites. All listed pages have been shut down and statements have been made by large replica sellers on their preferred platforms. It can be assumed that many of the defendants in the case do not reside in the United States so any verdict would have little legal influence – some replica sellers have already reopened up shop whilst others have guaranteed to fulfil orders. As just one of many historic lawsuits, it will not kill a large and growing market.