Designer John Geiger turns his Nike sneaker lawsuit into an NFT

After being sued by Nike in August over allegations that he copied its famous Air Force 1 sneaker, designer John Geiger is now digitizing the moment with an NFT.

From problem to profit — Four months after the initial trial, the designer says he is not ready to bow to Nike. And now, Geiger has announced that he’s tapping into the “future of NFTs” with a non-fungible digital copy of the lawsuit and the GF-01 sneaker in question. The shoe makes its digital debut dressed in an all-silver color scheme, followed by the NFT JG Lawsuit Gold and Bronze Edition releasing shortly after. However, he does not stop there: he revealed his intention to add tangible elements to each edition.

Geiger is currently celebrating the release of a multi-color curly tweed GF-01, a model who experimented with “materials that weren’t necessarily made for shoes,” he said in an Instagram Story on Monday. The designer might consider doing the same with the “JG Lawsuit” version and bringing the metallic look to life.

From the start 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 is uncertain, although he said in the Instagram post that it was “only scratching the surface”. The whole NFT project could also open the door for other, smaller artists to create art out of criticism, even if the criticism comes in the form of a lawsuit.

Nike versus Geiger — Nike has become increasingly possessive of its sneaker intellectual property, taking legal action against independent labels that make similar products. La La Land Production & Design Inc. and Warren Lotas were sued by Nike in 2020 over an alleged Dunk impersonator – a case that was settled later that year. In August 2021, John Geiger’s name was added to another complaint by Nike for causing “market confusion” with their Air Force 1 lookalike shoe, the GF-01. To help him fight the Swoosh, Geiger hired Kanye West’s former lawyer Yeezy.

Geiger has made a point of being 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 release and making sure buyers are aware of the creative liberties taken, though his marketing language may be what started the whole trial. The GF-01 has a similar shape to the AF1, but custom details such as the patterned outsole, different construction materials and a 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 collaboration isn’t in the works as the designer had hoped after all.