You mess with the bull, you get the horns. Nike's ongoing lawsuit over StockX's Vault NFT collection is escalating after The Swoosh alleges that it purchased fake Jordan sneakers on StockX's site.

Back in March, Nike initiated legal proceeds against StockX over the secondhand marketplace's Vault NFT collection, which included a selection of digital renderings of covetable sneakers like the sacai x KAWS x Nike Blazer Low and Bad Bunny's adidas collaboration.

Nike itself getting deep into the Web3 space — it acquired NFT footwear company RTFKT in 2021 and recently issued "Cryptokicks" and an AR hoodie — so it presumably sees StockX as an interloper selling digital "bootlegs" of trademarked Nike kicks.

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The lawsuit escalated on May 10, when Nike's attorneys at DLA Piper LLP filed a document in court stating that Nike wants to bolster its charges against StockX.

Not content to merely take down StockX's NFT collection, Nike is also taking aim at what it calls "StockX’s counterfeiting activities."

In its memorandum, Nike claims to have purchased four pairs of fake Jordan sneakers from StockX "within a two month period," including a pair of bootleg Jordan 1 "Chicago" shoes that match one of the NFTs sold through StockX's Vault NFT program.

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This seems like a low blow from The Swoosh (welcome to the wonderful world of lawyering) but Nike argues that this development is actually relevant to its case.

In StockX's rebuttal to Nike's original accusations, it asserted that the Vault NFTs were "claim tickets" to Nike shoes vetted through StockX's "proprietary, multi-step authentication process."

By revealing that said process is flawed, Nike is angling to add additional charges of "counterfeiting and... false advertising" to its four other charges against StockX.

Nike didn't actually say which three other fake shoes it allegedly bought off StockX nor did it explain exactly how it specifically acquired fake shoes from StockX or even how it verified that these shoes were indeed fake — wonder if an employee with a grudge hooked Nike up or if some Swoosh intern just kept ordering shoe after shoe until a fake finally arrived with that green "authenticated" hangtag.

Instagram commenters are not impressed, either way: most of the replies on Highsnobiety's post can be summed up as "Been knew dat."

On May 11, StockX issued a response to Nike's latest filing via its Instagram Stories.

Nike's accusations are a "panicking and desperate attempt" to discredit the Vault NFT program, StockX said in part.

"Nike's latest filing is not only baseless but also curious given that their own brand protection team has communicated confidence in our authentication program, and that hundreds of Nike employees — including current senior executives — use StockX."

The retort smacks of the Ann Hebert case from last year, wherein a high-ranking Nike exec resigned after she was accused of using her connections to bolster her son's sneaker resale business.

On June 6, StockX doubled down with an updated statement claiming that "Nike’s allegations not only lack any details about the alleged counterfeit shoes it claims to have purchased through the platform, but also contradict Nike’s own past dealings with StockX."

According to the resale platform, Nike sought to collaborate on its authentication efforts and even "communicated confidence" in its authentication process. "Despite numerous opportunities to offer feedback or criticisms, at no time in the past did Nike express concerns to StockX about its authentication processes."

StockX also characterized the allegation that Nike bought fake Jordans off StockX as "suspicious," due to its timing. "Nike alleged that they had counterfeit shoes months before they filed their initial complaint, but only added these claims after their lawsuit against StockX’s Vault NFT failed to gain traction or to win over public sentiment."

Things are getting personal now — buckle up.

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