Lakers Felt 'They Got Played' During Kawhi Leonard Pursuit

Tanya Simon
July 20, 2019

After the National Basketball Association star filed a lawsuit in June over Nike's trademark of a claw logo, the Beaverton, Ore. -based company filed a countersuit Wednesday against Leonard.

"In his Complaint, Leonard alleges he provided a design to NIKE".

Nike is fighting back against Kawhi Leonard.

The suit goes on to later point out Leonard used the logo on non-Nike clothing during the NBA Finals, and that he alluded to planning to do so in the future in his own lawsuit last month.

Nike wants Kawhi Leonard's lawsuit against them to be dismissed and is counter-suing him, according to court documents obtained by The Blast.

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Leonard's suit alleges that Nike, without Leonard's knowledge, filed for copyright registration of his logo and falsely represented in its application that Nike had authored it. Although both logos feature a claw with the athlete's "KL" initials inside, Nike argues the image Leonard developed is "plainly distinct" from its copyrighted design, according to the filing.

"Moreover, in clear contravention of Leonard's contractual obligations and NIKE's exclusive ownership rights in and to the Claw Design, Leonard has continued to use and reproduce the Claw Design, without NIKE's authorization, on his non-Nike apparel worn publicly, and has manifested his imminent intent to commercially exploit the Claw Design on non-NIKE merchandise". Leonard conceded that he discussed concepts for a personalized logo with Nike but claimed to have rejected Nike's proposals "for the most part". "They are not", reads Nike's statement.

Nike is also asking the court to transfer the case to federal court in OR, saying its contract with Leonard required any dispute arising from it to be litigated here. "I drew up the rough draft, sent it over and they made it flawless". I give the Jordan Brand team all credit because I'm no artist at all...

"NIKE does not assert ownership of Leonard's design above, " the company's lawyers wrote below the sketch in court papers. But Nike has little incentive to settle on unfavorable terms, especially considering the significant intellectual property and contractual interests it seeks to protect, and a not-so-judgment-proof counterpart on the other side.

Since leaving Jordan Brand for New Balance, the star forward has been involved in several winning designs.

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