It Appears Nike Wants to Sell Virtual Sneakers to Wear in the Metaverse

The sportswear giant filed several requests with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office regarding "virtual goods”

A Nike store is pictured in Shanghai, China
A Nike store is pictured in Shanghai, China.
Fan Jianlei/Jiemian News/VCG via Getty

With the world’s biggest social media company betting big on real people wanting to interact in a virtual metaverse, one of the largest sportswear companies on the planet has plans to make its wares digital so they can be worn in said virtual metaverse.

As reported by Bloomberg and Front Office Sports, Nike filed seven requests with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in late October to protect its signature swoosh logo, the MJ Jumpman and the “Just Do It” slogan in “downloadable virtual goods, namely, computer programs featuring footwear, clothing, headwear, eyewear, bags … for use online and in online virtual worlds.” 

While the trademark does not officially name the virtual universe that Mark Zuckerberg and his re-named company Meta are leaning into, hard, the trademark certainly appears to lay the groundwork for Nike-branded apparel to be sold in the metaverse and other digital environments.

“The applications are on an intent-to-use basis, and won’t be finalized until they’re in commercial use,” according to Bloomberg.

Characters in the popular online video game “Fortnite” can already be outfitted with Nike’s Jordan Brand sneakers and the company also filed a patent in December 2019 to link physical pairs of shoes with an NFT to verify ownership under an initiative dubbed CryptoKicks.

On the bright side, Nike making its sneakers, hats, sporting equipment and other apparel virtual shouldn’t require the company to rely on shady manufacturing practices overseas that may or may not include forced labor factories in China filled with sweatshops staffed by members of the Uyghur community.

Either way, we’d rather just not do it.

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