Nike wants to bring sneaker lovers to the Metaverse

By November 22, 2021Metaverse
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Look at your feet. Many of you (raise your hands if you are like this) are wearing Nike shoes right now. For the fiscal year ending May 31, 2021, Nike reported that its revenue increased 19%, reaching 44,500 million dollars in the year. But that’s in this life. And in the Metaverse?

Why is Nike interested in the Metaverse?

For those who are not yet familiar with the concept, the easiest way -Although very incomplete- To imagine the Metaverse is to imagine yourself existing in a real life video game. Nike goes into it and provides really cool meta-things.

It is not a joke. Nike takes the metaverse very seriously.

Patent records dating back to the pre-Metaverse universe in 2018 reveal that Nike has been seriously storing the tools with which you can do business in the Metaverse. These digital tools will include sneakers, but also avatars and other forms of virtual branding. Sure, Nike intends to sell you digital products (and you’ll buy them because Nike knows how to make you want them), but the meta-plan revolves around entire digital worlds.

Is this Nike just being Nike? Sure, but if we decide to define it as the creation of new net income streams, as it has done throughout its history, so good for them. Someone is going to own the Metaverse loot, and it might as well be Nike.

The Metaverse has rules that will be new for Nike

Nike has to brace itself for the notion of destruction by duplication. In this temporary world, Nike has been very litigious lately with its intellectual property (IP). Nevertheless, in the metaverse, the duplication will transcend our current conceptions of what is legal. The value of Nike’s meta tools will be totally affected by what the company would consider pirates and others would call artists.

In the real world, there is a recent art project called the Museum of Counterfeits. with an important commercial application. In a nutshell, Brooklyn arts collective Mschf bought a Warhol original for $ 20,000 and made 999 exact fakes. Next, mixed up the original and sold the 1,000 Warhols “that could be real” for $ 250 each, for a total of $ 250,000, of which $ 230,000 are benefits.

The same will happen in the Metaverse. Some rare Nike releases (what we sneakerheads call a new sneaker release or even a color – known as a “colorway” – of a sneaker) will be real, some could be and some will knowingly or unknowingly be false.

The Metaverse is new to the courts

As to how the courts are going to eventually handle these metaverse disputes, Samir Patel, a Miami attorney and appointee for the Miami-Dade Cryptocurrency Task Force, recently tweeted:

A judge’s lack of knowledge on blockchain technology is completely missed by devs who think their inventions circumvent the law. Judges judge on what they know, not what you know.

– Samir Patel (@SamirPatelLaw) October 26, 2021

The developers completely ignore a judge’s lack of knowledge about blockchain technology, because they think their inventions circumvent the law. Judges judge by what they know, not by what you know.

I spoke with Patel about the realities of the new Metaverse and how it’s going to be a quick and hard discovery when the judges find out that Common law precedents will be more of an obstacle than an aid in deciding Metaverse cases. As Patel said:

“Legal doctrine, such as real estate property rights, breach of wet contracts, and infringement of copyrights of human derivative works, will govern relationships in the metaverse (MV).”

He went on to say, “So when Nike wants to participate in the MV, whether it be with virtual storefronts, avatar gear, or create new products exclusively for the MV, then your attorneys need to build a nexus between the MV violation or legal claim and the meatspace“.

The fact that few or no judges (and very few attorneys) have used or even listened the term “meatspace” is itself a problem. The term refers to our physical world, as opposed to cyberspace or a virtual environment like the Metaverse..

So yeah, the Metaverse demands will have to be simplified for the judges, at least initially written in a very mundane way, using a very traditional language, so that the judges do not miss.

Can Nike help build a legal structure for the Metaverse?

Patel sees a real opportunity here. “Nike has the resources to educate judges through trials because it can afford to pay its attorneys to drag out litigation., but other smaller petitioners would have a hard time convincing a judge that they own virtual property that exists in a virtual property registry, maintained by a decentralized blockchain, “he said.

Patel explained to me that if I were to buy virtual land in the Metaverse, the judge would likely view the transaction as a sale of property and not as a transfer of real property. As the legal norms do not contain or contemplate the notion of virtual real estate, these virtual lands cannot be registered in a virtual property registry because that registry is not governed by a municipality or a government.

“So if Nike sold a pair of virtual shoes, but did not deliver the shoes to the buyer, it would be a breach of contract in the sale of shoes. But the traded exchange of value will still have to be articulated and possibly registered on the meatspace“Patel explained.

What this will mean in practice is an enigma for the judges, since there is no evidence that a contract was entered into in the metaverse, such as a verbal contract entered into by two avatars. So how can a judge rule in favor of one of the parties to this dispute? It is exactly the same as a verbal contract made in the meatspace. If an avatar can demonstrate confidence in the verbal contract in the Metaverse, just as they can in the meatspace, then there may be evidence to support the plaintiff’s claims..

The metaverse can be as contentious as the meatspace

And there are going to be many demands. If Nike has a problem with its creations being modified in the meatspace without its permission and the defendants in Nike lawsuits boldly respond that the modifications are art, not IP theft, imagine the Metaverse. Patel noted:

“Intellectual property laws will be tested in the Metaverse, if artificial intelligence is used to create landscapes or other virtual objects.”

And he added: “That’s because AI derivative work is not covered by United States copyright laws. Therefore, If I used the AI ​​in the MV and it created something wonderful, I would not have any rights to the derivative work and someone else could imitate it and claim the copyright for themselves. It will be extremely difficult to protect copyright because the MV could be very broad and the infringer could be an entity deployed by AI. The judges will address these issues using the copyright laws of the meatspace. “

This leaves us with the only viable way to change the way judges view and decide cases in the Metaverse: by changing our existing laws to accommodate virtual reality. Without this change, seen through the eyes of the judges, everything is meatspace and virtual reality does not exist as legal reality.

The true legal reality, as Patel pointed out, is that “Nike would be wise to hire attorneys who are well versed, and I mean really well versed, in real estate property, the Uniform Commercial Code, as well as experts in blockchain technology.“.

With the Metaverse providing a new virtual world of opportunities to create, sell, buy and sue, it is going to be fascinating to watch from social, business and legal points of view. The mere fact that Nike has prepared to create, sell and litigate in this new space means that you too should prepare for the reality of the Metaverse, which will soon be coming to a computer or phone very close to you..

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. All investing and trading involves risk, and readers should do their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Aron solomon is Esquire Digital’s Chief Legal Analyst and has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania. Solomon was chosen for Fastcase 50, which recognizes the world’s 50 best legal innovators. His work has appeared on CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, TechCrunch, The Hill, BuzzFeed, Fortune, VentureBeat, Yahoo! and many other important publications.

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