Major retailer sued by NBA star over logo

Glenn W. Peterson

California businesses or individuals who hold intellectual property know how important protecting those assets can be to their future and to other entities with whom they may wish to do business. From professional musicians to actors to corporate businesses and more, the world of copyrights, trademarks and other forms of IP is an essential part of their everyday world. The same can be true of professional athletes.

Unfortunately, there are times when managing intellectual property finds someone in an adversarial position with a party they had previously been cooperating with. An example of this can be seen in a recently filed lawsuit against a major shoe manufacturer and sports apparel and lifestyle brand. The company commonly sponsors professional athletes in a range of sports and one athlete who was sponsored by the company for several years is a basketball player in the NBA.

According to Sports Illustrated, the player is suing the shoe company for alleged misuse and misappropriation of a logo he claims to have invented and to still own the rights to. The man claims he originated the logo while still a student in college, refining it later. While under contract with the shoe company, the player states he allowed some use of a variation of the logo but never agreed to cede ownership or control of the original.

Somehow, the shoe company was granted a registered copyright for their version of the logo in the spring of 2017 and the player was granted a registered trademark for his version of the logo in the autumn of that year. The path forward for the case is unkown at this time but will likely be watched carefully by many.