On Monday, Nike filed a lawsuit against counterfeit sneaker sellers and the e-commerce stores where they hawk their wares. The sneaker company says that online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon aren’t doing enough to address the influx of counterfeit products on their platforms.
In the complaint, filed in the U.S. district court of northern Illinois, Nike targets dealers who are selling unlicensed and unauthorized products that use the company’s registered trademarks. This includes word marks like Nike, Nike Air, Swoosh, Air Max, Dunk, Air Force 1, LeBron and Dri-Fit, plus others, as well as infringed-upon logos and emblems that are associated with sports personalities like Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.
The defendants are not being named and the file is being kept sealed so that they do not have the chance to destroy any evidence or transfer assets ahead of a temporary restraining order.
Nike points out that these defendants, and other e-commerce store owners, are in contact with each other through various sites like qq.com, where they share information on potential lawsuits, pending litigation and how to evade detection.
The sneaker company didn’t name the defendants, but they did call out some of the largest e-commerce sites—like eBay, Amazon, Wish and Alibaba—for not preventing counterfeit merchandise on their platforms. According to the lawsuit, they failed to adequately vet sellers through identity verification, letting them use phony names and addresses. It is Nike’s belief that the online marketplaces do not have the ability or the desire to stop pirated merchandise on their sites.
Last year, Nike sued almost 600 websites for selling counterfeit sneakers. This current legal filing asks that the perpetrators be prevented from selling the imitation footwear, that Amazon and other third-party providers stop running their ads, and that they pay Nike the profits they made from selling infringing trademarks. As an alternative to reimbursement, the company seeks statutory damages of $2 million for each use of Nike’s trademarks.