After being sued by Nike in August for allegations that he copied its notorious Air Force 1 sneaker, designer John Geiger is now digitizing the moment with an NFT.
From problem to profit — Four months after the initial lawsuit, the designer is making it clear he’s not ready to bow down to Nike. And now Geiger has announced that he’s tapping into “the future of NFTs” with a digital, non-fungible token copy of the lawsuit and the GF-01 sneaker in question. The shoe makes its digital debut dressed in a completely silver color scheme, followed by Gold and Bronze Edition JG Lawsuit NFTs that will release soon after. He’s not stopping there, however: He revealed plans to add tangible items to each edition.
Geiger is currently celebrating the release of a multi-color tweed bouclé GF-01, a model that experimented with “materials that weren’t necessarily made for footwear,” he said in an Instagram story on Monday. The designer could be planning to do the same with the “JG Lawsuit” version and bring the metallic look to life.
Since the beginning of Geiger’s legal involvement with Nike, the designer has promised transparency throughout the process. Whether this is the only lawsuit-related NFT in store for Geiger isn’t for certain, though he stated in the Instagram post that he was “just scratching the surface.” The entire NFT project could also open the door for other smaller artists to create art from criticism, even if the critiques come in the form of a lawsuit.
Nike vs. Geiger — Nike has gotten increasingly possessive of its intellectual property when it comes to sneakers, taking legal action on independent labels that produce similar products. La La Land Production & Design Inc. and Warren Lotas were sued by Nike in 2020 over an alleged Dunk copycat — a case that was settled later that year. In August 2021, John Geiger’s name was added to another Nike complaint for creating “marketplace confusion” with their Air Force 1 lookalike shoe, the GF-01. To help him fight against the Swoosh, Geiger hired Kanye West’s former Yeezy lawyer.
Geiger has made it a point to be transparent about the GF-01’s Air Force 1 resemblance. He said he’s been “very clear” about using the AF1 as “inspiration” for his version and making sure buyers are aware of the creative liberties taken, though his marketing language may be what sparked the whole lawsuit. The GF-01 does hold a similar shape to the AF1, but custom details like the patterned outsole, different construction materials, and unique quarter set it apart.
In Geiger’s case, only time will tell if he’ll be able to fend off the biggest sportswear giant of them all. Chances are, a future collab won’t be in the works as the designer had hoped after all.