A few days ago, it was revealed that the celebrated Italian soccer team Juventus has filed a lawsuit against the company that runs the players’ NFT-based online fantasy soccer hosted on Binance.
Juventus has also already obtained a preliminary injunction thanks to a Rome court ruling inhibiting Blockeras srl from any further production, marketing, promotion and offer for sale of NFTs of digital content bearing images and/or trademarks of Juventus, and from using these trademarks in any form or manner.
In fact, the team’s request concerned precisely the rights related to the JUVE and JUVENTUS trademarks, and related images.
Thus, the offense charged is that of copyright infringement.
The ruling also even ordered Blockeras to withdraw from the market and remove its products, including NFT and digital content associated with the previous injunction, from every site.
It also ordered the company to reimburse Juventus Football Club for court costs of approximately €5,500.
These NFTs are now no longer listed on Binance, although the exchange still continues its adventure in this world.
Binance: the partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo
A few days ago they launched a new collection dedicated precisely to the former Juventus footballer and promoter of the same.
Called “The CR7 NFT Collection,” it is the first collection in a series of limited-edition drops that:
“commemorate the legacy of one of the best who ever graced the game of soccer.”
For now, the collection consists of NFTs commemorating seven iconic moments from Cristiano Ronaldo’s soccer career, reinvented and immortalized as statues.
Binance, Juventus and NFTs
Last year, the team itself officially announced its arrival in the NFT sector, with the launch of unique collectible content and certified exclusivity on the market.
In particular, such content is related to the memorable events of its more than 100-year history, such as the special jerseys that are always greeted with great enthusiasm by fans.
The first of these digital contents put up for sale by Juventus in NFT format was the Home 2021/2022 jersey, in collaboration with Adidas. The platform chosen for the auction was not Binance, but NFTpro.
Previously, the team had also signed a partnership with Sorare’s famous fantasy soccer and Socios to issue its fan token.
In contrast, Blockeras’ initiative was something else entirely, namely a private initiative by this company that was not authorized by Juventus.
The Juventus fan token
The Juventus JUV fan token has had mixed fortunes.
It was launched on the market in April 2020, i.e., at the height of the bear market, at a price of just over $2.
Despite the bear market, by August of the same month, it had risen to over $11, likely taking advantage of the rebound in crypto markets after the March 2020 financial market crash due to the onset of the pandemic.
JUV’s price set two resounding peaks, the first of which occurred as early as December 2020, i.e., as soon as the most recent big bull run started, when it surpassed $37 making an all-time high. The second occurred in May 2021, at over $26.
Since then its market value has started to fall, hitting a post-bubble low in May this year, at just over $2.
The current price of about $3 is well above the annual low in May, but as much as 91.8% lower than the all-time high.
However, it is worth mentioning that the two peaks in 2021 were very rapid and abnormal, so they are not suitable to be taken as a reference point. As such it is better to take the $15, which was exceeded three times in 2021 in as many small, less anomalous bull runs.
Compared to that level, the current price is still 80% lower, which is in line with that of many altcoins.
Juventus vs NFTs on Binance: the Rome court ruling
The ruling issued by the Court of Rome makes it very clear that even in the NFT sector it is illegal to use brands or images of others without proper permissions.
This actually sets a historical precedent, because it is the first known ruling of this kind issued by a European court.
The cards created by Blockeras prominently portrayed a number of trademarks owned by Juventus, the contracted version of the club’s name, “Juve,” and the image of a famous former player, probably Cristiano Ronaldo himself.
The Court of Rome had no choice but to observe the obvious wrongdoing, and to impose the withdrawal from the market of these products that were considered to all intents and purposes counterfeit.
Another interesting thing is that the ruling recognizes the notoriety of the Juventus trademarks by stating that it is not even necessary to consider the fact that they have been registered as such in relation to “digital objects” or “digital objects certified by NFTs.”
In fact, these are still registered trademarks in Class 9 of the Nice Classification, i.e., in relation to “downloadable publications in digital format,” thus also valid for NFTs.
And although the former Juventus footballer had granted Blockeras permission to use his image, this could not also include the use of Juventus’ trademarks.
The court also appears to have grasped the separation between content and certificate, i.e., NFTs, so much so that it also barred the defendant from producing other NFTs infringing on Juventus’ rights.