Nike’s lawsuit against StockX raises considerations for consumers and resellers alike.
Shopping secondhand is a growing trend, particularly for fashion items, including sneakers, handbags, and accessories. StockX is an immense player in the game, valued at nearly $4 Billion. Now, Nike is accusing StockX of selling look-alike versions of its shoes and wants a federal judge to force the online marketplace to remove the alleged knockoffs from its website.
While Nike is a brand known for fiercely protecting its intellectual property, its recent lawsuit against StockX is unique, as noted by Leah Chan Grinvald, associate dean and professor of law at Suffolk University in a recent article by Fast Company. Manufacturers audit for counterfeiting regularly, and they buy their own products from resellers all the time, according to Grinvald. However, it’s uncommon for a manufacturer to actually sue a retailer for selling products that may have been counterfeited.
“They rarely bring cases against the seller, but in this instance, StockX is different from an Amazon or eBay, in that Amazon or eBay just tells consumers, ‘Buyer beware! We’re just a marketplace!’” says Grinvald. “Whereas StockX takes that next step . . . and says we’re verifying that the shoes you’re buying are authentically Nike.”
This case raises important considerations for both sellers and consumers: Sellers need to be increasingly vigilant about verifying the authenticity of items they sell. Consumers need to be aware that even seemingly legitimate sources can sell fake items, even if authenticity is purportedly guaranteed.
What may be surprising is that the most reliable source for shopping for authentic pre-owned branded goods is a reputable pawn shop. In fact, consumers may be more likely to be sold a fake online at one of these online resellers than from a pawnbroker.
Here are a couple of the reasons why:
- Pawnshops are regulated at the local, state, and federal level, making them unique from other retailers. For most, the risks involved in selling counterfeit goods are simply not worth the effort.
- Pawnshops have been dealing in second hand goods for centuries. The items they buy or take in as collateral for a pawn are assessed for their resale value. Therefore, the pawnbroker is highly motivated to take in only authentic merchandise and most invest in training, technology, and continuing education to ensure that they do.
While consumers should be diligent in navigating the secondhand market to avoid purchasing fake goods, the stakes are much higher for sellers, particularly small businesses including pawnshops. “Resellers should arm themselves with education, training, and support,” says Deanna Thompson, co-founder of Marque Mentor. “The risks are just too high to ‘wing it’ or make guesses on their own.”
Marque Mentor, which Thompson started alongside Luxury expert Quentin Caruana is a fee-based online platform that provides direct insider access to webinars, an active privately moderated online community, and other exclusive content to help resellers navigate the secondhand luxury market and grow their businesses while avoiding counterfeits and superfakes. More information about the program is available at